Farmers get soil conservation manual


13-April-2012

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The manual was drafted by Keven Nancy, the principal officer for research and development at the Seychelles Agricultural Agency (SAA). This was with the help of other local counterparts and with funding from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) under the Sustainable Land Management project being managed by the GOS-UNDP-GEF Programme Coordination Unit.

During a workshop held recently at Care House, copies of the manual were handed over to the farming community and other stakeholders.

Denis Matatiken – the chief executive of the Seychelles National Parks Authority and also the alternate director for GEF in Seychelles – handed over sets of the manuals to the chief executive of the SAA Marc Naiken, the representatives from the Seychelles Farmers Association, the Seychelles Agricultural and Horticultural Training Centre and of the National Library.

This was in the presence of the special adviser to the Minister for Natural Resources Antoine Marie Moustache and representatives of the GOS-UNDP-GEF Programme Coordination Unit.

Those taking part in the workshop were given an overview on the contents of the manual, its purpose and they also had the opportunity to learn more on soil conservation and soil fertility management practices.  Such practices aim at reducing the adverse effects of agricultural activities on the environment, including the cultivated slopes, the streams and rivers, the coastal plains and the marine environment.  

Addressing all those taking part in the workshop, Mr Naiken said:
“The rapid degradation in the agricultural sector particularly the crop sector has led to loss of interest in new ideas pertaining to crop production and many farmers and technicians have left the industry.”

 He added that “the sustainable land management project has injected a new dimension of capacity building through the empowerment of farmers to solve problems on their farms”.

He stressed the role that the SAA has to play to ensure that the local farming community continues to benefit from sound technical advice for future growth of the sector.

The sustainable land management project has since November 2010, under an activity entitled ‘Development and Implementation of sustainable land management through soil conservation and soil fertility in agriculture’ funded several small projects for the farming community including: training for over 60 farmers held on Mahe and Praslin on the subject of soil sampling, the purchase of several pieces of soil testing equipment for the soil laboratory of SAA, incorporating the mainstreaming best agricultural practices in the SAHTC curriculum, a field guide for collecting, packing, labelling and transporting soil samples and also financing the draft, design and print of the Best Practices Manual.

A memorandum of understanding was signed in 2011 between the GOS-UNDP-GEF Programme Coordination Unit and the SAA to upgrade and enhance the soil laboratory.

Another purpose of the workshop was to seek farmers’ and other stakeholders’ views on the fees being proposed for the use of the laboratory in order to ensure sustainability of the services provided and also to validate the proposals for mainstreaming best agricultural practices in the Seychelles Agriculture and Horticulture Training College curriculum.

The main presenters were Barry Nourrice, Jean Alcindor and Mr Nancy, all of whom have a lot of knowledge on soil conservation and management.

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