Midlands Annual Progress Report 2018

Download PDF
APPENDIX5: KWAZULU-NATAL MIDLANDS
ANNUAL PROGRESS REPORT
CA FarmerInnovation Programme (CA-FIP) for
smallholders in KZNMidlands.
Period: October 2017 -September 2018
Farmer Centred Innovation in Conservation Agriculture in upper
catchment areas of the Drakensberg in Midlands of KwaZulu-
Natal
Compiled by:
Erna Kruger, Temakholo Mathebula and Hendrik
Smith
September 2018
Project implemented by:
Mahlathini Development Foundation
Promoting collaborative, pro-poor agricultural innovation.
Contact:Erna Kruger (Founder and Coordinator)
Address: 2 Forresters Lane, Pietermaritzburg, 3201, KZN
Email:erna@mahlathiniorganics.co.za, info@mahlathini.org
Cell: 0828732289
Time of operation: 2003-2018
Legal status: NPC
BEE status: 4. Certificate available.
In collaboration with:
Funded by:
Contents
Contents................................................................................................................................3
Identification of the project....................................................................................................4
Description and selection of study areas..............................................................................4
Approach and Methodology....................................................................................................4
Key activities: October 2017-September 2018.........................................................................5
Results achieved to date.........................................................................................................5
Overall process......................................................................................................................8
Year 1:............................................................................................................................8
Year 2:............................................................................................................................9
Year 3:............................................................................................................................9
Possible agrochemical spraying regime options..............................................................10
Soil fertility..........................................................................................................................10
Progress per area of implementation....................................................................................11
Summary of the 2017/18 growing season ........................................................................12
Yields of Beans and Cowpeas Swayimane and Cornfields ...........................................14
Swayimane: Gobizembe ..............................................................................................14
Mayizekanye Group 1: ................................................................................................. 16
Mayizekanye 2: ............................................................................................................16
Mayzekanye 3: .............................................................................................................17
Cornfields.....................................................................................................................18
Maize Yields ....................................................................................................................19
Mayizekanye 3: Dumazile Nxusa .................................................................................20
Mayizekanye Group 2: ................................................................................................. 21
Cornfields............................................................................................................................24
Cover Crops ........................................................................................................................28
Introduction .....................................................................................................................28
Gobizembe ......................................................................................................................28
Innovation Platforms ...........................................................................................................30
CA Introductory Meeting at Appelbosch:13 July 2018 ......................................................30
Issues, suggestions and way forward ..................................................................................31
Identification of the project
Description and selection of study areas
The KZN Midlands programme has been expanding the CA Smallholder Farmer Innovation
Programme (SFIP) activities piloted in Bergville to other maize growing areas in the Midlands, i.e.
Estcourt, Ladysmith, Greytown and New Hanover.
Communities targeted in this season expanded from Cornfields to include 4 new learning groups
in Swayimanye (New Hanover). Work in Nkandla and Mpholweni (Greytown) has been
discontinued. The level of commitment from community members in these areas has been low.
Approach and Methodology
The farmer-centred innovation systems research process underpinning the programme, which is
based on working intensively with farmer learning groups and local facilitatorsineach of the
villages, has been continued and strengthened.
Within the learning groups farmer innovators volunteer to set up and manage farmer-managed
adaptive trials as the ‘learning venues’ for the whole learning group. Farmer Field School (FFS)
methodologies are used within the group to focus the learning on the actual growth and
development of the crops throughout the season. New ideas (CA practices) are tested against the
‘normal’ practise in the area as the controls. Farmers observe, analyse and assess what is
happening in the trials and discuss appropriate decisions and management practices. Small
information provision and discovery-learning or training sessions are included in these
workshops/ processes. These are based also on the seasonality of the crop and the specific
requests and questions from farmer learning group participants.
Local facilitators are chosen from within and by members of the learning group to be a person
who has the required experience, knowledge anda willingness to support the other farmer
innovators in their implementation. Facilitators are only chosen and appointed where people
with the appropriate skill and personality exists. Local facilitators receive a stipend for a
maximum of 10 working days per month, for their support to the farmer innovators. They fill in
detailed timesheets outlining their activities against which they claim a monthly stipend.
Learning group membersagree to a season long learning process and put forward the farmer
innovators to run the trials. Each prospective innovator is interviewed and visited and signs an
agreement with the Grain SA team regarding their contribution to the process. They undertake to
plant and manage the CA trials according to the processes and protocols introduced as well as a
control plot of the same size. For the latter, farmers provide their own inputs.
The adaptive trials are also used as a focus point for the broader community to engage through
local learning events and farmers’ days. Stakeholders and the broader economic, agricultural and
environmental communities are drawn into these processes and events. Through these events
Innovation Platforms (IPs)are developed for cooperation, synergy betweenprogrammes and
development of appropriate and farmer led processes for economic inclusion. These IPs also
provide a good opportunity to focus scientific and academic research on the ‘needs’ of the process.
In this season (2017-2018) we have continued to focus on the following elements of the model,
namely:
a) Support farmers who are in their 1st , 2nd seasons of implementation,
b) Inclusion of summer cover crops in the cropping mix
c) Use of the two-row tractor drawn planter
d) Promotion of VSLAs
Key activities: October 2017-September 2018
Four learning groups havebeen set up in Swayimanye (New Hanover). Interest in commercial
maize production (green mealies) here is high due the community’s proximity to a large town -
Pietermartizburg. Individual members of the learninggroups are part of a farmers’ Association
in the area. Thirty four (34) participants conducted CA trials. Farmer level experimentation has
expanded to include planting with a 2-row tractor drawn planter for the larger fields and the
experimentation layout and planting procedurewere adopted to also suit thisprocess.
Intercropping has been used in all the villages and planting of cover crops (both summer and
winter mixes) has been actively promoted.
The Cornfields (Estcourt) area focus has continued, despite the understanding both in the
community and by the facilitators that this is likely a marginal area for maize production due to
climatic conditions and extremely poor soils in the area. Eight (8) participants conducted CA
trials.
Initial discussionsand workshops have been held for a potential expansion into the Estcourt area
of Thabamhlophe and two new learning groups are to be started in a new area in Umshwathi
Municipality called Appelbosch (Gobimsimbi and Nomiyele).
Stakeholder engagement has included open days/ farmers days co-hosted by LandCare (DARD),
a co-funder of this programme for this season and a range of networking meetings and processes.
Results achieved to date
Five learning groups have been supported under this process. Training/learning workshops have
been conducted for the following topics:
How to implement CA:introduction to the principles, soil health, crop diversification
and different planting options for CA
Working with herbicides and knapsack sprayers: information on different herbicides,
their uses and safety measures, as well as operation of knapsack sprayers, protective
clothing, etc.
Trial plot layout and plantingusing differentCA planting equipment such as hoes, MBLI
planters, and animal drawn not till planters.
Top dressing and pest control measuresfor mid-season growth of crops and planting
of cover crop mixtures where people have been interested in this option
The learning groups provide the innovation platforms also for discussionof the value chain
issues, such as bulk buying, harvesting, storage and milling options and marketing.
Stakeholder engagement and awareness raising have included the following:
1.Quarterly presentations to the Ubuhlebezwe LM LED forum on agriculture.
2.Cooperation with the UKZN, running a research process on Climate Smart Agriculture
through the Water Research Commission CA is one of the technologies they are
demonstrating in their sites in KZN (Swayimanye) and the Free State.
3.A PROLINNOVA networking meeting to discuss local innovation systems and support for
these
4.A Greenfund concept proposal meeting called by the INR with a number of organisations
to put together a consortium proposal.
5.A farmers day in Swayimanye co-hosted by LandCare and a year-end function for one of
the cooperative groups.
6.A mid-season review in Swayimane including a number of other interested community
members, looking at progress, issues, different maize cultivars and discussing the role of
cover crops.
The table below outlines activities related to objectives and key indicators for the period of
October 2017-September2018.
Table 1:SUMMARY OF PROGRESS (OCTOBER 2017-SEPTEMBER2018) RELATED TO OBJECTIVES AND KEY ACTIVITIES
Objectives
Key activities
Summary of progress
% completion and comment
1. Document
lessons
learned
Documentation for
learning and
awareness raising
- Printing of hand books
and learning support
materials for groups and
individuals
- Sharing of information
through innovation
platforms processes
-Articles and promotional
material
- 500 copies of Individual savings
books and 50 group savings
books have been printed (100%
complete)
-Madzikane, Matatiele, Bergville
(100% complete)
-4 articles of the GrainSA
monthly magazine (one on
Swayimane specifically) and 1
for the Adaptation Network
newsletter. (100% completion)
Final report
- 6 monthly interim
reports
- Interim and final reports
(100% complete)
2. Increase
the
sustainability
and efficiency
of CA systems
1st level
experimentation:
40
- 34 participants in
Swayimanye planted
400m2 intercropping trials
as advised. One larger field
planted in Swayimanye 2
using the two- row
planter- also using
intercropping
- Planting in Mpholweni
has not taken place;
- Basic CA design- intercropping
with maize beans and cowpeas
on a 100m2- 400m2 plot, with a
control plot managed entirely by
the participant.
Adaptation trials included late
season planting of beans with a
mixture of winter and summer
cover crops. Yield measurements
done and planning for the
coming season completed (100%
complete)
2nd level
experimentation:
13
- 8 participants in
Cornfields planted their
400m2inter -cropping
trials.
- Participants opted to continue
with intercropping practice from
their 1st year. Yiled
measurements and planning for
the coming season completed.
(100% complete)
Develop and
manage PM&E
framework;
weekly and
monthly M&E visits
-M&E forms redesigned
and used
- Digital monitoring system
piloted
- Monitoring of planting and crop
growth awa yields and
germination and growth of cover
crops (100% complete)
Facilitation of
innovation
platforms
- Co-facilitation of
information sharing and
action planning with
stakeholders and role
players
- A farmers information day awa
a mid season review were held in
Swayimanye (incl farmers from
other areas, local and academic
stakeholders, DARD, and the LM.
- CA introduction to potential
expansion areas held (100%
complete)
CA working group,
and reference
group
- Planned for August 2018
A performance dashboard is indicated below. This provides a snapshot of performance according
to suggested numbers and outputs in the proposal.
Table 2: Performance Dashboard: September 2018
Outputs
Actual (Sept 2018)
Number of areas of operation
2
Number of villages active
5
No of 1st level farmer experiments
34
No of 2nd level farmer experiments
8
No of local facilitators
3
No of direct beneficiaries
53
Participatory monitoring and
evaluation process (farmer level)
Yes
Soil biological assessments (Bgvl,
SKZN)
46
Stakeholders forums
12
The table below summarises the planned and actual farmer trial implementation for the 2017-
2018 planting season. A total of 53trial participants volunteered through the planning processes
across 6 villages in three areas. Forty two (42) of these farmers planted trials.
Table 3 : Summary of farmer innovation numbers and areas planted per village; KZN Midlands 2017-2018
Area
Village
Farmers
selected
Farmers
planted
(1st level)
Farmers
planted
(2nd level)
Experi-
mentation
Comments; incl
planters used.
Estcourt
Cornfields
13
8
Intercropping,
late season
beans, cover
crops.
Farmers planted
using hand hoes
and MBLI planters.
The group is not
well established
Greytown
Mphol-
weni
8
0
Group members
were unprepared
to do the planting
for themselves
New
Hanover
Swayiman
ye 1
6
8
Intercropping,
late season
beans, cover
crops.
Very active group
members; Hand
hoes and MBLI
planters used
Swayiman
ye 2
9
9
Intercropping,
late season
beans, cover
crops.
Very active group
members; Hand
hoes and MBLI
planters used. One
2 row tractor
drawn planter
demonstration
Swayiman
ye 3
8
8
Intercropping,
late season
beans, cover
crops.
Very active group
members; Hand
hoes and MBLI
planters used
Gobizemb
e
9
9
Intercropping,
late season
beans, cover
crops.
Very active group
members; Hand
hoes and MBLI
planters used
TOTAL
53
34
8
Area of trials
1,36ha
Of the 53 participants selected, 42 participants planted their trials. In Mpolweni no planting was
done and in Cornfield 8 of 13 participants planted. In Swayimane all trial participants planted and
two more participants were brought on board.
Overall process
As this is an existing ‘technology’ the farmer level experimentation is in essence an adaptation
trial process.
Year 1:
Experimental design is pre-defined by the researchteam (based on previous implementation in
the area in an action research process with smallholders). It includes a number of different
aspects:
Intercropping of maize, beans and cowpeas
Introduction of OPV and hybrid varieties for comparison (1 variety of maize and beans
respectively)
Close spacing (based on Argentinean system)
Mixture of basin and row planting models
Use of no-till planters (hand held, animal drawn and tractor drawn)
Use of micro-dosing of fertilizers based on a generic recommendation from local soil
samples
Herbicides sprayed before or at planting only
Decis Forte used at planting and top dressing stage for cutworm and stalk borer
Planting of cover crops; summer and winter mixes
Experimental designincludes 2 treatments; planter type (2) and intercrop (2). See the diagram
below.
Figure 1: Example of plot layouts for the 1st level farmer trials
The basic process for planting thus includes: Close spacing of tramlines (2 rows) of maize
(50cmx50cm) and legumes (20cmx10cm) intercropped, use of a variety of OPV and hybrid seed,
weed control through a combination of pre planting spraying with herbicide and manual weeding
during the planting season and pest control using Decis Forte, sprayed once at planting and once
at top dressing stage.
For the tractor drawn two row planter the layout has been adapted to incorporate both close
spacing and inter cropping. Rows are planted with the following order and spacing; Maize-50cm
-Beans-25cm-Beans-50cm Maize
Year 2:
Based on evaluation of experiment progress foryear 1, includes the addition of options that
farmers choose from. Farmers also take on spraying and plot layout themselves:
A number of different OPV and hybrid varieties for maize
A number of different options for legumes (including summer cover crops)
Planting method of choice
Comparison of single crop and intercropping planting methods
Use of specific soil sample results for fertilizer recommendations
Early planting
Own choices
Year 3:
Trials are based on evaluation of experimentation process to date; to include issues of cost benefit
analysis, bulk buying for input supply, joint actions around storage, processing and marketing.
Farmers design their experiments for themselvesto include some of the following potential focus
areas:
Early planting; with options to deal with more weeds and increased stalk borer pressure.
Herbicide mix to be used pre and at planting (Round up, Dual Gold, Gramoxone)
A pest control programme to include dealing with CMR beetles
Intercropping vs crop rotation options
Spacing in single block plantings
Use of composted manure for mulching and soil improvement in combination with
fertilizer,.
Soil sample results and specific fertilizer recommendations
PLOT 1: Hand HoePLOT 2: Planter
Maize1,bean 1Maize2,Bean 1Maize1,bean 1Maize 2, Bean 1
Maize1,Bean 2Maize 2, Bean 2Maize 1, Bean 2Maize2, Bean 2
PLOT 3: OR repeat plot 1 and 2PLOT 4:
Hand hoePlanterHand hoePlanter
Maize1,cowpeaMaize1,cowpea
Maize1,Dolichos
Maize1,dolichos
Maize2,CowpeaMaize2,Cowpea
Maize2,Dolichos
Maize2,Dolichos
10m or5m
10m or5m
Planting of dolichos and other climbing beans
Summer and winter cover crops; crop mixes, plantingdates, management systems,
planting methods (furrows vs scatter)
Seed varieties; conscious decisions around POVs, hybrids and GM seeds
Cost benefit analysis of chosen options
Possible agrochemical spraying regime options
1. Roundup 2 weeks before planting - if there has been some rain. DualGold atplanting (just after
with Decis Forte/Kemprin).
2. Gramoxone at planting (just before or after planting) with or without Dual Gold and Decis
Forte/Kemprin Dual Gold does not work on dry soil (followed by heavy rain)
Soil fertility
Soil samples for fertility analysis at Cedara were taken for the 4 learning groups in Swayimanye
(New Hanover).
A summary of the results for these samples is presented in the small table below. This provides
a more in-depth analysis of generic fertilizer requirements than provided in the interim report.
A generic fertilizer recommendation of:
250kg/ha MAP (5x 50kg bags) (equivalent to 40kg/ha of P) and
150kg/ha LAN (3x50kg bags)( equivalent to 60kg/ha N)
has been used for all farmer-led trials, These amounts were based originally on fertilizer
requirements averaged for the Bergville area.
Soil samples were taken for most of the new entrant farmers (29 of the 40 new farmers). The
summary below outlines the soil fertility recommendation results. From these results however,
it can be seen that the average recommendation for MAP of 250kg/hacan be reduced to 125kg/ha
or (2,5 x50kg bags/ha). The LAN recommendation will remain 3x50kg bags/ha
Table 4: Soil fertility analysis summaries for new Midlands villages in Swayimane; 2017-2018
AREA
pH
%
Acid
sat
%C
%N
%Clay
MAP
LAN
KCL
Lime
50kg bags/ha
t/ha
Note:
Average
was taken
for those
needing
lime No
in
brackets
is
maximum
amount
required
Mayizekane 1
4,4
29,7
1,6
0,3
39
2
1,9
0
3,0 (6)
Mayizekane 2
4,4
29
2,6
0,2
39
1,8
3,1
0
3,6
(11,5)
Mayizekane 3
4,4
12,2
2,3
0,1
39
3,4
2,6
2
1,7
(3,5)
Gobizembe
4,3
30,3
2,5
0,2
44
2,9
2,9
2,9
3,4
(10)
AVERAGE
4,4
25,3
2,3
0,2
40,3
2,5
2,6
1,2
2,9
In addition, the acid saturation in all 4 villages is high, linked to the low pH of these soils. Attention
will need to be given to ensuringthe lime requirements are tailored towards the needs of each
village or failing that, the generic quantity of lime recommended needs to be increased from 1-
2,9 t/ha.
Progress per area of implementation
Information from the interim report is not repeated here.
Introduction
Natal Midlands is still a new area in terms of the Grain SA SFIP program and four out of the five
groups that have come on board are in their first cropping season. The four new learning groups
are based in Swayimane and all the participants undertook CA experiments. Out of the 34
participants that joined the programme, 24 participants (71%) managed to harvest and the
remaining ten participants obtained no yields mostly due to livestock invasion, poor soils and
excessively wet late season weather.
Cornfields is in its second cropping season of CA where horizontal up-scaling has been quite slow.
Despite the status quo, the 2017/18 growing season has seen an improvement in overall yields.
Of the 13 participants who said they would plant, 8 managed to undertake the trials and all of
them managed to harvest which is a significant improvement from the previous growing season.
The remaining five participants did not plant citing poor rainfall and said they would plant in the
upcoming season.
The learning groups consist predominantly of women between the ages of 40 and 96 years old.
More than 80% of the participants are unemployed and depend on pension and social grants as a
source of income. In the Swayimane community, the participants also grow a wide variety of
crops such asmaize, beans and sugar cane for consumption and selling surplus and also own
livestock. Cornfields participants grow maize and have vegetable gardens. Water is a major
limiting factor especially in Cornfields where it often does not rain for months at a time.
A Case for Conservation Agriculture
Beyond just being a potential solution to excessive evaporation, soil erosion and reduction in
yields, conservation agriculture has proven to be a viable option to addressing food insecurity in
rural communities as its emphasis is on the planting of grain and leguminous crops which are
staple foods in rural South Africa. Furthermore, many people can no longer cope under the
pressure of ever increasing food prices, hence household food production is becoming more and
more a necessity rather than just an option. Livestock integration through the planting of cover
crops is another major plus for rural farmers, who often have major problems with overgrazing.
The zest with which people undertake CA suggests that they are beginning to realise the potential
of farming to the betterment of their lives.
Summary of the 2017/18 growing season
Planting of CA trials for the 2017/18 growing season took place between December 2017 and
January 2018 (see table 1 below). The season is now coming to an end with almost all participants
having harvested their maize, beans and cowpeas.
Table 5: Summary of participants and inputs delivered in the 2017-2018 season
Names of the Local facilitators are given in brackets. These are the chairpersons of the
cooperatives.
In Swayimane, the Mayizekanye and Gobizembe groups all planted as per CA demo and each
participant had both maize+bean (M+B) as well as maize+cowpea (M+C) intercrop plots where
planting was done using hand hoes (refer to table2). Maize germination inMayizekanye was
generally good (85%) although there were trials which had poor germination such as Lungile
Phungula’s plot which had 35% germination (refer to table 2).In Gobizembe average maize
germination was 79.8% which was also quite good. Germination for beans was generally lower
than for cowpeas.
In terms of soils, Mayizekanye has mostly brownto reddish brown, deep and well drained soils
although there were signs of erosion. The soils in Gobizembe are mostly reddish brown and there
are some fields with shallow, rocky soils. The lack of uniformity in growth and colour in some
trials suggests that there are issues with soil fertility. Some of the farmers enquired about MAP
as they were impressed at the appearance of the maize trial compared to their own plots and
testified that their yieldshave declined over the years, due to mechanical ploughing. The
participants were proactive in terms of managing their trials except for a few who did not do any
weeding. Stalk borer was the number one maize pest identified in all groups, especially in the
farmers’ own plots, followed by CMR beetlesand aphids in beans and cowpeas. Locusts, crows
and snails were also quite common, especially in Gobizembe (refer to table 2).
Area
Planting
Date
Maize
Beans
Cowpeas
Number of
Participants
Mayizekanye (Mrs Shandu)
16 /01/2018
PAN 6479
Gadra
Mixed brown
9
Mayizekanye(Mrs MaNene
Mkhize)
17 /01/2018
PAN 6479
Gadra
Mixed brown
8
Mayizekanye (Mrs Nxusa)
18/01/2018
PAN 6479
Gadra
Mixed brown
8
Gobizembe
29/11/ 2017
PAN 53
Gadra
Mixed brown
9
Cornfields
20/12/2017
PAN 6479
Gadra
Mixed brown
13
Total no of participants
47
Table 6: Swayimane: Personal information, trial layouts and growth monitoring; 2017-2018
No NameSurnameAgeYrssizeof trialPlanterPlot 1Plot 2Plot 3Plot 4
Pests
presence of pest at the day os assessment
Maize BeansCowpeas
1 Gwaja
Khumalo 63 2400m2Hand hoeM+BM+BM+BM+B0% 50%45%n/a
2 Moses
Sithomo 64 400m2Handhoe M+BM+BM+BM+C0% 41%20%30%
3 Mbuso
Mkhize 48 400m2Hand hoeM+CM+CM+BM+B
Termites, Amaye, CMR beetles,
stockborer.
1% 85%35%73
4 Mdumeni
Miya 67 2400m2Hand hoeMBNo pest issues0% 90%70%n/a
5Zakhe
Xaba 53 1400M2Hand hoeCM+BM+BM+BCMR Beetles and flies0%81% harvested Harvested
6Shintshile
Mbatha 60 1 228m2HandhoeM+BStockborer1%60% harvested n/a
7 Florence
Luthuli 46 1400m2HandhoeM+CM+CM+BM+BCMR Bettles20%7440 72.5
1NomusaShandu1300m2Hand hoeM+B+CM+B+CM+B
Locust on beansNone68%86 90
2TholakeleShandu49 1 400m2HandhoeM+BM+BM+CM+C
Termites, ants, stockborerNone70% 0% 0%
3 NtombiShandu51 1400m2Hand hoeM+B+CM+CM+BM+C
Stock borer, CMR Beetles, 4% 82%84%87%
4 EuniceMaphumulo51 1 400m2HandhoeM+BM+CM+BM+C
Termides, stockborer0% 69%35%72%
5Lungile Phungula47 1200m2Hand hoeM+CM+BM+CM+B
Ants likepests0% 35%0%25%
6 CantrineMaphumulo50 1400m2Hand HoeM+BM+BM+CM+C
Stockborer, Termides, CMR
Beettles
8%86% 9300% 9300%
1 VelaphiShangase59 1 300m2HandhoeM+BM+BM+CM+C
CMR beetles0% 83%83%61%
2 FikileMaphumulo56 1 350m2HandhoeM+BM+BM+CM+C
Monkeys, cut worms, CMR
Beetles
4% 95%95%95%
3 ThembiMkhize66 1 300m2HandhoeM+CM+CM+BM+B
Stockborer 0% 83%85%88%
4Qondeni Bhengu61 1 300M2HandhoeM+CM+BM+B
CattleGrazing or trampling30% 87%88%87%
5GabenganiNdlela96 1 300M3HandhoeM+CM+BM+B80% 75% 80%
1
Dumazile , Khonzeni,
Nxusa 66 11300 M+C M+C M+B M+B90% unclear 95%
2M+B M+B M+B M+B
3Ntombikhona Mchunu49 1256m2hand hoeM+CM+BM+BM+C
CMR BeetlesNone25% 23% 32%
4 InaMaphumulo78 1400m2Hand hoeM+BM+B+C
CMR Beetles, crows, Aphids60%
60 (Maizeeaten by birds)
80% 90%
5 BabhekileNene54 1300m2Hand hoeM+BM+CM+B
CMR Beetles0% 88%88%90%
6 AgnesGabela96 1400m2hand hoeM+CM+BM+BM+C
crows eat seeds at planting0% 62%
Maizehas been harvested
83%
1 KhombisileMacanyane53 1400m2Hand HoeM+BM+BM+CM+C
LocustNo pest 84% Harvested 70%
2 NtombiyomuntuNgobese66 1400m2Hand HoeM+CM+BM+BM+C
LocustNo pest 88% Harvested 90%
3 MthephiChonco61 1200m2Hand HoeM+CM+CM+BM+B
LocustNo pest 71% Harvested 90%
4Janet NtombencaneGasa62 1400m2Hand hoeM+BM+CM+CM+B
LocustNo pest 91% 83% 95%
5 LindiweZondi43 1400m2Hand HoeM+BM+BM+CM+C
Crow, snailsNo pest 74% Harvested 94%
6 KhanyisileXasibe46 1400m2Hand hoeM+CM+CM+BM+B
signs of stalkborer
stalkborer
74% 85% 84%
7 BusisiweKhoza56 1400m2Hand hoeM+CM+BM+BM+C
No pestsNo pests62% 85% 86%
8 GuguXimba/Zondi49 1400m2Hand hoeM+BM+CM+BM+C
No pestsNo pests
Livestock trampled and grazed
9 KhweziMajola66 1340m2Hand hoeM+CM+BM+C
directly heated by the sun),
low rooting depth,rocky.
No pests95%0% None
PERSONALINFORMATION
TRIALLAYOUT
MAYIZEKANYE 3
CORNFIELDS
GERMINATION %
ISSUES
MAYIZEKANYE 2
MAYIZEKANYE 1
GOBIZEMBE
Yields of Beans and Cowpeas Swayimane and Cornfields
The MDF team was focused on weighing beans, cowpeas and maize during the months of June
and July. The average yields for beans vary significantly across areas where some participants
attained no yields and others attained yields of up to 1.2 t/ha. Figure 2 below gives a summary of
the average yields in the four areas in Swayimane as well asin Cornfields. Gobizembe had the
lowest average yields for both beans and cowpeas as the trials did not grow well. Cornfields
attained average yields of 0.77 and 0.36 t/ha for beans and cowpeas respectively. Mayizekanye 1
attained average yields of 0.23 t/ha for cowpeas and 1.04 t/ha for beans which suggests that the
beans performed much better than cowpeas. According to the farmers their bean yields would
have been higher had it not been for the late summer rains which resultedinpod damage. Similar
to Gobizembe in terms of climate, Mayizekanye also had challenges with excessive rainfall which
resulted in yield losses for Gadra bean which does not handle prolonged wet conditions well at
maturity. Despite the abovementioned, some participants such as MrsShandu and Mrs Nxusa
managed to get yields > 1 t/ha for their bean intercrop. Cowpeas performed reasonably well
across all areas, however there were yield losses due to late harvesting. Farmers were reluctant
to harvest cowpeas as they are not very familiar with the crop.
Figure 2: Average yields for beans and cowpeas in KZN Midlands villages
Swayimane: Gobizembe
The learning group in Gobizembe consists of middle aged and elderly women who are
unemployed and derivetheir livelihoods fromvarious farming activities. Production of
Amadumbe is very popular in the area as in the rest of Swayimane and the women also grow
vegetables, sugar cane and grain crops for consumption and sale of surplus. Livestock farming is
also prevalent, although to a lesser degree and it includes cattle, goat, pig and poultry farming.
Khombisile Mncanyana
Khombisile Mcanyana is a 53 year old woman who lives with her three children. She joined the
programme because of her passion for farming and a desire to learn more about CA and what it
entails. She planted the 400m2trial and attained a bean yield of 0.44 t/ha from the maize and
bean intercrop and 1.35 t/ha from the bean sole crop. For cowpeas Mrs Mcanyana attained a yield
of 0.087 t/ha.
CornfieldsGobizembeMayk 1Mayk 2Mayk 3
Beans 0.78 0.22 1.04 0.43 0.69
Cowpea 0.36 0.23 0.23 0.65 0.66
0.00
0.20
0.40
0.60
0.80
1.00
1.20
t/ha
Average Beans and Cowpeas Yields 2017/18
Rita Ngobese
Rita Ngobese is a 66 year old pensioner who lives with her husband and grandchildren. She is a
passionate farmer who grows a wide range of crops such as amadumbe, potatoes, ntufesh
(Mustard spinach), spinach and beans amongst others. She also grows avocadoes which she
sometimes sells locally. For the bean intercrop, the yield was 0.440 t/ha andfor the sole crop it
was 0.925 t/ha. For cowpeas, she attained a yield of 0.157 t/ha.
Lindiwe Zondi: Lindiwe Zondi is a 43 year old lady who lives with
her husband and three children. She is unemployed and spends
most of her days tending to her various farming activties. She is a
passionate potato grower and she also grows vegetables for her
family. She undertook the trial experiment with the aim to
understand more about planting under no till and its role in
improving soil fertility. For beans she attained a yield of 0.280 t/ha
and 0 t/ha for cowpea. The cowpeas went rotten due to wet
weather conditions.
Figure 3: Khombisile Mcanyana, bean harvest from intercrop (left) and cowpea (right)
Figure 4: Rita Ngobese with her bean and cow pea harvest, bean
intercrop (l), bean sole crop (r), cowpea intercrop (c)
Figure 5: Lindiwe Zondi with her bean harvest
Mayizekanye Group 1:
Nomusa Shandu
Nomusa Shandu from Mayizekanye
lives with four grandchildren. She is
unemployed and survives mainly
through herfarming activities. She
attained a yield of 1.5 t/ha for beans
with 86 % germination and 0.083t/ha
for cowpeas with 90% germination.
Most of the cowpeas went rotten due to
the wet weather.
Ntombi Shandu
Ntombi is a 49 year old lady who is self-employed. Her family consists of 23 members whom she
supports mainly
through her
agricultural activities.
She attained a yield of
2.585 t/ha for beans
with 84%
germination and
0.412 t/ha for
cowpeas with 87%
germination.
Mayizekanye 2:
Mambedu Ndlela
Mambedu Ndlela, affectionately known as
gogo Ndlela is a 96 year old lady who lives with
her sons and two grandchildren. She receives
an old age grant and also grows amadumbe,
potatoes, vegetables and field crops for
household consumption. She isa keen farmer
who enjoys listening to new ideasand trying
out new practices. In fact, she was not part of
the original group but joined duringplanting
as she wanted to learn about CA. Mrs Ndlela
attained a yield of 0.687t/ha for beans with
70% germination and 0.254 for cowpeas with
80% germination.
Figure 6: Mrs Shandu (l), her bean yield (R)
Figure 8: Mambedu Ndlela and her bean harvest
Figure 7: Ntombi Shandu,
her beans (c) and cowpeas
(r)
Thembi Mkhize
Thembi Mkhize is a 66 year old pensioner who lives with her grandchildren. She grows maize
and a wide variety of beans for the local market and also grows vegetables from time to time.
She is the voice of authority in the group, a natural born leader, she is also the chairperson of
the group. She
attained a
yield of 0.917
t/ha with 87%
germination
for beans and
0.536 t/ha for
cowpeas with
88%
germination.
Mayzekanye 3:
Dumazile, Khonzeni and
Mathemba Nxusa
Dumazile, Khonzeni and
Mathemba Nxusa are a close-
knit family who rely on
farming as the main livelihood.
They undertook to plant the
trial as a group as this is how
they normally work. The three
women grow maize, beans,
amadumbe and sweet potato
mainly for market and do most
of the work themselves. The
group attained a yield of 1.204 t/ha for beans with 80% germination and 0.38 t/ha for cowpeas
with 90% germination on their trial plot and a total yield
of 2.042 t/ha on their sole bean plots.
Agnes Gabela
Agnes Gabela lives with her daughter and three
grandchildren. She is a pensioner and a full time farmer
who grows a range of field crops. She attained a yield of
0.966 t/ha for beans and 0.412 for cowpeas with 83%
germination.
Figure 9: Thembi
Mkhize's beans
and cowpeas
Figure 10: Dumazile Nxusa's beans from sole bean plot (l), beans from trial plot (r)
Cornfields
The 2017/18 growing season started out bleak in Cornfields as there was little hope anything
would grow due to the absence of rain. The group only started planting on the 20th of December
2017 and when the MDF team conducted a site visit in January, some of the trials had not
germinated. It finally rained late in January which had a positive impact on the growth of the
trials.
Fisokuhle Ngcobo
Fisokuhle Ngocbo lives with her daughter and grandchildren at kwaMbombo right at the
entrance of Cornfields. No one is employed in
the household and the family survives mainly
on child grants. She undertook to plant CA
trials in 2016 but attained no yields as the
maize tasselled and produced cobs at a low
height and was subsequently eaten by
chickens. She got no yield for beans and
cowpeas. In the 2017/18 growing season she
changed the site of her trial and planted
closer to home, which has proved beneficial
for her as she attained a yield of 1. 22 t/ha for beans.
Florence Luthuli
Florence Luthuli is a 46 year
old female who lives at
Entabeni eybovu with her
three children and she is a first
year participant. She is also
unemployed and survives on
child grants and farming. She
also owns cattle and goats. Her
yields for beans and cowpeas
were 1.03 and 0.48 t/ha
respectively.
Moses Sthomo
Moses Sthomo is a 64 year old male who lives eMatendeni with his wife and three children. He is
a pensioner and sometimes gets seasonal employment which is how he supports his family. He is
also a passionate farmer and grows maize for consumption and selling surplus. This season is his
second season in the programme. Although he was not happy with the yields he got this season,
he stated that there
was an
improvement. For
beans he attained a
yield of 0.855 t/ha
and a yield of 0.248
t/ha for cowpeas.
Shintshile Mbatha
Shinsthile Mbatha is a 60 year old female
who lives with her four grandchildren and
the first year of the program. She receives
an old age grant and she also grows
vegetables for household consumption.
Her trial did not perform well, she attained
a yield of 0.104 t/ha for beans.
Maize Yields
Maize yields for the KZN Midlands site vary significantly across and even within the same areas.
The three groups in Mayizekanye had yields ranging from 0 t/ha to 7.16 t/ha, with most farmers
ranging between 1.22 t/ha and 2.00 t/ha which is quite low in light of economic viability. Mrs
Nxusa and Agnes Gabela had a yield of 7.16 t/ha and 5.72 t/ha respectively which is quite good,
however they are the exception rather than the rule.
Gobizembe maize yields ranged from 0.44 t/ha to 3.88 t/ha. Ntombiyomuntu Ngobese and
Khombisile Mncanyana had the highest yields of 3.34 t/ha and 3.88 t/ha respectively and Mrs
Chonco had the lowest yield which was 0.04 t/ha.
Cornfields yields are higher than initially expected, although still quite low in termsof cost vs.
benefit. The highest yield attained was 3.56 t/ha from Zakhe Xaba and the lowest was 0.56 t/ha
from Fisani Ngcobo. Most of the participants in Cornfields ranged between 1.2 t/ha and 2.00 t/ha.
Figure 11 on the following page gives a graphical representation of final yields.
In any crop production system, final yield is often dependent on a wide variety of factors.
Management practice is a significant contributor to final yield and in the context of the CA trials,
there were instances where farmers did not weed and others fell victim to livestock invasions. A
few participants increased the spacing of maize and beans and also thinned out the maizethinking
the 2-3 plants per basin would compete with each other. This reduced their yields. Furthermore,
most of the fields had been ploughed for many years, and the soil nutrients are considerably
depleted which showed inthe growth of the trials where some of the maize had purple and yellow
leaves and in a few cases in Gobizembe and Cornfields, crop growth was uneven. Cornfields was
also affected by a hailstorm earlier in the year which caused damage to the maize and bean crop.
In Gobizembe there are farmers who did not harvest at all, as in the case ofMrs Majola and Mrs
Ximba who suspect that their soils may be acidic. In Mayizekanye, one participant, Mrs Phungula
planted her trial on virgin land and germination was < 20% for maize and 0% for beans and
cowpeas. All of the maize was eaten by cows. Another participant, Mrs Eunice Maphumulo
thinned out her maize out of fear it would suffocate and also had a big problem with crows, she
had a final yield of 1.76 t/ha. Although she had already sold the SC701 variety, she mentioned that
the cobs in the control (SC701) were bigger than those of PAN 6479 although the latter was much
better in terms of appearance and quality. Most of the participants that obtained some yields
mentioned that the PAN 6479 is much sweeter than their usual SC701 variety.
Mayizekanye 3: Dumazile Nxusa
Table 7 below shows the yields of participants from Mayizekanye. Mrs Nxusahad the highest
yield which was 7.159 t/ha. She harvested a total of 40 bags with an average weight of 28.409
kg/bag which is the highest across all areas. She also had an average weight of cob of 0.071 and
average weight of grain of 0.323 kg. The inter row spacing for beans was 50 cm instead of the
recommended 25 cm for the trial, as a result there were manyweeds between her maize and bean
plots. It is interesting to note that she achieved these yields despite being a first year participant
who was initially sceptical about planting a different variety
1.29
2.09
1.33
3.35
0.56
1.79
3.56
0.44
1.35
3.88
3.34
1.15
1.76
1.22
1.37
1.58
0.42
1.84
0.41
1.42
5.72
1.85
0.00
2.04
7.16
0.00 1.00 2.00 3.00 4.00 5.00 6.00 7.00 8.00
Gwaja
Florence
Shintshile
Mbuso
Fisani
Moses
Zakhe
Mthephi
Ntombencane
Khombisile
Ntombiyomuntu
Lindiwe
Eunice
Fikelephi
Nomusa
Ntombi
Qondeni
Thembi
Mambedu
Fikelephi
Agnes
Mzenkosi
Ntomikhona
Babhekile
Dumazile
Kh
u
m
al
o
Lu
th
uli
M
ba
th
a
M
kh
ize
Ng
co
bo
St
ho
m
o
Xa
ba
Ch
on
ch
o
Ga
sa
M
ca
ny
an
a
Ng
ob
es
e
Zo
nd
i
Maph
umul
o
Shan
du
Bh
en
gu
M
kh
ize
Nd
lel
a
Ng
ub
an
e
Ga
be
la
M
ap
hu
m
ul
o
M
ch
un
u
Ne
ne
Nx
us
a
Cornfields Gobizembe Mayk 1Mayk 2Mayk 3
Yield (t/ha)
Area
Maize Yields for the Natal Midlands Area
2017/18
Figure 11: Maize yields for KZN Midlands;2017-2018
Table 7:Mayizekane Group 3:2Maize yields017-2018
Mayizekanye Group 2:
Thembi Mkhize
Thembi Mkhize decided to implement the maize and bean intercrop in her household plots as
well. In the CA trial, her total yield was 2.04 t/ha, although the yield could be higher. Some of the
maize had already been eaten when the MDF team visited her for weighing. Her house is situated
near a natural forest and she has a serious problem with monkeys eating her maize. She often
spends hours outside chasing them and when she is not home she employs someone to be on the
lookout. She sells the maize to local traders and also sells beans in Wartburg, a nearby town. The
control could not be measured as SC701 is sold as green mealies and was already sold out.
MAYIZEKANYE 3 MAIZE YIELDS
Name
Surname
No of bags
Av. weight
(kg)/bag
Av. Weight of cob
Av. weight of grain
weight of cob +
grain
% Grain weight
Grain weight (kg)
area (m2)
Weight (t)
weight (t/ha)
Babhekile
Nene
48.89
240
0.05
2.04
Agnes
Gabela
12
17.21
0.04
0.19
0.223
0.83
171.66
300
0.17
5.72
Mzenkosi
Maphumulo
2
17.21
0.05
0.19
0.237
0.81
27.69
150
0.03
1.85
Ntomikhona
Mchunu
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
Dumazile
Nxusa
40
28.41
0.07
0.32
0.39
0.82
930.63
130
0.93
7.16
Average Yield
1.23
Figure 12: Maize and bean intercrop plot (l), Mam Nxusa and her sisters processing maize after harvesting (r)
Gobizembe
Gobizembe farmers planted PAN 53 in their CA trial and said that their yields for the current
season were lower than what they normally get. Theybelieve this is due to the intercropping. The
farmers are not yet convinced that intercropping can contribute positively to final yield.
Khombisile Mcanyana
Khombisile Mcanyana, pictured below attained a yield of 3.88 t/ha and she was happy with her
yield. She noted
that her cobs were
uneven in size -
cobs from plants
towards the
bottom of her field
were larger than
those at the top-
end of her field.
Rita Ngobese
Rita Ngobese attained a yield of 3.34 t/ha with mostly small to medium sized cobs and she
believes the low cob weight was due to competition for nutrients and water asher maize crop
had thin stalks and was light green in colour throughout the season. The CA trial was planted
below a row of avocado trees, which may have had an impact on the yield as avocado trees have
extensive root systems and most likely competed with and overshadowed the maize. She
separated her maize yields according to her trial plots. The yieldswere 0.140 kg and 0.208 kg
respectively, for the maize and cowpea and maize and bean intercropped plots.
Figure 13: CA Trial (l), Maize from bean intercrop (c), maize from cowpea intercrop (r)
Cornfields
The maize yields in Cornfields for the 2017/18 growingseason came to a total of 13. 983 t/ha and ranged from 0.561 t/ha to 3.562 t/ha for the CA
trials with an average yield of 1.998 t/ha. In 2016/17, the total yields were 5.782 t/ha with more than half of the participants having attained no yields.
About 55% of participants who planted in the 2016/17 did not come back in the 2017/18 growing season. Extreme dry weather conditions as well as
hard and degraded soils were largely to blame for the poor yields. Mdumeni Miya, one of the participants who planted in the current growing season
did not plant the maize and bean intercrop but planted sole crops in an effort to improve his yield. His final yield is yet to be recorded. Two participants,
Moses Sthomo and Mbuso Mkhize planted the trial as well as a control and in both cases the control yield was higher than the trial yield. In Moses
Sthomo’s trial, the total yield is 1.791 t/ha compared to 3.244 t/ha in the control and the average cob weight is higher in the control compared to the
trial. Mbuso Mkhize’s control also has a higher yield compared to the trial which is 3.798 t/ha for the control and 3.55 t/ha for the trial, however the
difference is not significant.
Table 8:Cornfields maize yields; 2017-2018
CORNFIELDS MAIZE YIELDS (2017/18)
2016/17
Name
Surname
Trial
Descripti
on
Number
of bags
Average
weight
(kg)/bag
Average
Weight of
cob
Average
weight of
grain
weight of
cob +
grain
%grain
weight
Grain
weight
(kg)
area
(m2)
Weight
(t)
weight
(t/ha)
Weight
(t/ha)
Zakhe
Xaba
2(m+b),
2(m+c)
5.5
24.750
0.071
0.258
0.329
0.785
106.857
300
0.107
3.562
n/a
Fisokuhle
Ngcobo
2(m+b),
1(m+c)
2
6.779
0.025
0.121
0.147
0.827
11.216
200
0.011
0.561
0.186
Gwaja
Khumalo
2(m+b),
2(m+c)
2
12.177
0.029
0.114
0.142
0.799
38.589
300
0.039
1.286
0
Florence
Luthuli
2(m+b),
2(m+c)
4
14.460
0.046
0.141
0.186
0.755
62.804
300
0.063
2.093
n/a
Shintshile
Mbatha
2(m+b),
2(m+c)
1
10
0.046
0.141
0.186
0.755
26.689
200
0.027
1.334
n/a
Moses
Sthomo
2(m+b),
2(m+c)
3
14.782
0.039
0.137
0.176
0.780
53.743
300
0.054
1.791
0
Control
35
17.781
0.042
0.170
0.212
0.803
518.977
1600
0.519
3.244
Mbuso
Mkhize
2(m+b),
2(m+c)
10
10.039
0.033
0.141
0.174
0.812
100.649
300
0.101
3.355
0.872
Control
14
11.060
0.025
0.152
0.178
0.857
151.902
400
0.152
3.798
Average Yield
1.998
Zakhe Xaba
Zakhe Xaba is in his first season of CA and he attained the highest yield of 3.562 t/ha for maize
with 81% germination. His trial did not look good when the team visited him for monitoring as
germination was very patchy and most of the area was covered with weeds. The MDF team visited
Cornfields again on the 10thof May, and the trial had grown quite vigorously but the maize was
light green,
possibly due to a
Nitrogen
deficiency. The
cobs had fully
developed and
most were
medium to large in
terms of size. His
average cob
weight came to
0.329 kg.
Mbuso Mkhize
Mbuso Mkhize is a second year participant.
In the current growing season, he planted
both his trial and control under CA. He said
he realised that CA saves money and has
potential to give him higher yields compared
to his old farming practices. His trial
performed much better this season. The
maize had 85% germination. Interestingly,
he is one of the participants who’s trials had
not fully germinated when the team visited
Cornfields a month after planting and he had
started to lose hope. Mbuso Mkhize had an
80% increase in yield in the current growing
season with a total yield of 3.35 t/ha this season compared to 0.872 t/ha in 2016/17.
Figure 15: Zakhe Xaba (L), his maize and bean trial (C), maize harvest (R)
Figure 14: Maize and beans, 26/01/18 (L), Maize and beans 10/05/18 (R)
Figure 13: Maize and beans, 26/01/18 (L), Maize and beans
10/05/18 (R)
27
Moses Sthomo
Moses Sthomois a second year CA participant whose trial did not do well. In his first season he
attained no yield and this season the maize trial had 41% germination and he attained a yield of
1.791 t/ha for his trial and 3.244 t/ha for his control. His soil was hard and crusted with a grey
colour on the trial plot compared to a darker brown on the control plot. His maize was light green
and was also damaged by hail.
Figure 14: Mbuso Mkhize (L), Maize from control (C), maize from trial (R)
Figure 15: Control Plot (L), Maize and beans, 26/01/18 (C), Maize and beans 10/05/18 (R)
Figure 16: Moses' CA Trial (left), Maize from CA plot (centre), Maize from control plot (right)
28
Cover Crops
Introduction
Cover crops were distributed to the group in Gobizembe and to Mrs Nxusa in Mayizekanye. Both
summer cover crop (SCC) and winter cover crop (WCC) mixes were distributed as follows:
1 cup ea of millet, sunflower and sunnhemp and 2 cups of Winter Master (black oats, fodder rye,
fodder radish).
Gobizembe
Out of the nine participants in Gobizembe, five planted the cover crops. Cover crops were
distributed towards the end of Februaruy, which was a little late for SCCs.Nonetheless overall
germination was good.
Khombisile Mncanyana
Khombisile Mcanyana planted the cover crops in rows on all four plots (400 m2)) where she had
planted her
trial. She then
flattened the
maize stalks
in between
her cover
crops to
create ground
cover during
the winter
season. Both the WCC and SCC germinated (> 80%) and were growing well.
Khwezi Majola
Kwezi Majola did
not get any yield
for maize and
beans this year but
the cover crop
germination was
good. She planted
the cover crops on
a 100m2 plot and
germination was
65% and
sunflower, millet
and black oats
seemed to be dominant.
29
Mthephi ChoncoMthephi Chonco had the lowest yields for beans, cowpeas and maize in
Gobizembe. She planted the cover crops on a 120 m2 plot and had 50% germination. There were
many patches in between and the growth of the cover crops was uneven. Black oats and millet
germinated well, but fodder radish was mostly absent. Sunflower flowered at a height of about
50 cm.
Ntombencane Gasa
Ntombencane Gasa planted the cover crops in between the
maize rows after harvesting cowpeas. Germination was very
good (>85%) at the top part of the field and seemed to become patchy towards the bottom
where the maize and beans were. This was interesting to see as Mrs Gasa did not get any beans
this season which
suggests that the
soil on the bottom
half of the field has
nutrient
deficiencies.
Sunflower flowered
at a height of 40 cm.
30
Dumazile Nxusa
Dumazile Nxusa planted
the cover crops in
between her maize and
the germination was
85%. All the cover crops
germinated and are
growing well. The area
planted is 1460 m2.
Figure 16: Views of Mrs Nxusa’s
cover crops in Swayimane
Innovation Platforms
For the Swayimane groups good relationships have been built with the DARD extension officers
as well as representatives from the Umswhathi LM and Umgungundlovu DM. In addition role
players from UKZN and local NGOs have been involved. Through these relationships requests
were made for expansion of the CA programme into others areas in the LM. Anintroductory
meetings was held in the Appelbosch area-(between Wartburg and Tongaat). A summary report
for the meeting is presented below
CA Introductory Meeting at Appelbosch:13 July 2018
On the 13thof July 2018, the MDF team undertook a field visit to Appelsboch to attend a Farmers’
Day hosted by the department of Agriculture, uMgungundlovu District. Themeeting was attended
140 farmers and representatives from the Department of Health and the Department of Social
Development.
Appelsboch farmers are primarily potato and maize growers and work with Wiseman Ndlovu, the
local Extension Officer. They farm primarily for household consumption and also sell to local
traders. The farmers’ day was mainly a platform to update farmers on current input prices,
diseases trends and chemicals required as well as to help them plan ahead for the coming season.
31
Mahlathini gave a presentation on CA which focused on CA principles and practices, advantages
and disadvantages of farming under CA, farming inputs, learning groups, stakeholder
engagement, CA workshops, farmer centres and finally, savings groups.
Way Forward
1.Mahlathini is to work with 2 out of the 10 groups working with Wiseman Ndlovu and
possibly expand from there.
2.First CA workshop is to take place in August.
Figure 17: The Appelbosch meeting
Issues, suggestions and way forward
The season has been very productive with a number of new participants coming on board.
The groups in Swayimane especially are very active and engaged in the CA learning
process. They would want to expand their use of the 2-row planter considerably into the
coming season and a new planter is to be procured for this area.
Experimentation with different maize varieties for green maize, yellowmaize and
milling is to be introduced as the group wants to expand into other marketsbesides
the green maize that they are used to. This market is dwindling and they are wanting
to explore alternate options.
MDF has employed more field staff to increase capacity and is also now working with
3-4 interns in a continuous basis.
There may be a need to separate awareness raising aspects of this programme to an
extent from the research aspects-
oFurther funding is required for the expansion, both in terms of resources for the
inputs required for the farmer experimentationand the required logistical
capacity to service many different areas
oResearch requires greater focus, time and technical expertise than some of the
fieldworkers have and specific staff may need to be employed for this.
Instrumentation and analysis is generally too expensive to fall within the present
budgets
32
Bringing other potential donors on board is important both for the research and the
expansion as is the initiation of smaller, dedicated research projects within this process.
Opportunities exist to work within the realm of climate change adaptation and payment
for ecosystem services schemes, but this aspect is complex and will require focussed
attention.