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June 2006

Announcement of a publication

Soil and water Conservation to Conservation Agriculture Practices

Eotulelo Farmer Field School Group
Likamba Village, Arumeru
Arusha Region, Tanzania

The Eutolelo Farmer Field School (FFS) Group has been in existence since 2001 as a self-help community based group. Most of the original members were also involved with soil and water conservation activities started in 1997 in the neighbouring Ngorobob Village.

From the very beginning a key motivation for the group and individual households was to find means to deal with the deteriorating natural resource base. Due to the fragile nature of the soil and land formation, the area is highly vulnerable to erosion with main fields converted into gullies. Therefore, throughout the various project phases, the group has perfected and adapted what is proving to be feasible and viable sustainable agriculture practices.

A key element for the thrust of the group was the agreement to come together and address their common needs as a group. The farmers and specifically members of the group note this as a very important decision that has even made undertakings into conservation agriculture possible.

It was decided to focus the self-assessment on two interrelated elements of the groupís success. These are:

  • the technological practices on viable at the same time providing for sustainable natural resource management, i.e. the conservation agriculture practices, and
  • the groupís self organization, management and capacity building/empowerment.

The two elements are highly interlinked as the two sides of the same coin, in the understanding the success, achievement and failures, difficulties and challenges and how the group addressed them.

Through farmer-to-farmer efforts the group has been instrumental in stimulating scaling up/out efforts in neighbouring villages and essentially one key lesson has been the combination of strong good group organization with common purpose of membership and the understanding and application of the conservation agriculture practices.

The closest the group has come to systematic monitoring and evaluation of its activities and conservation agricultural adaptation process has been through the FFS approach in the CA-SARD Project. Therefore, this sustained self-assessment process is seen as further empowerment on the tools and process for self-learning.

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