Pesticide Action Network (PAN) Africa

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Pesticide Action Network (PAN) Africa holds 3-day training on sustainable agriculture with women farmers

PAN Africa held a workshop on sustainable farming techniques with women farmers last January 19th to 21st 2015 at the Forestry and Recycling Centre of Thies. This workshop is part of the Funding Leadership and Opportunities for Women (FLOW) programme of Netherlands being implemented by the Pesticide Action Network Asia and Pacific (PAN AP). The women participants came from the "Niayes" area of Senegal where the largest market gardening production yield can be found.

Twenty-one (21) women farmers joined the workshop, coming from farmers' organizations in the following localities of the Thies region: Fandene, Beer, Keur Abdou Ndoye, Darou Khoudoss, Tao, Khar Yalla, Ndiokhop, Keur Massar, and Sangalkam.

Agricultural specialists from the Thies University and the Regional Directorate of Rural Development (DRDR) Thies conducted the training. The training focused on three (3) main modules: management of soil fertility, pesticide hazards, and alternatives to chemical pesticides and natural protection techniques of crops/ plants.

"The practical knowledge from this training will serve us in our farms. We learned how to identify pests and fight effectively against crop hazards without chemical pesticides. The proposed alternatives are quite accessible and available and referring to the technical data available to us, we are able to reproduce the experiences, “said Ms. M. Diop (Darou Khoudoss).

Some of the topics covered include: the basics of sustainable and conservation farming, principles of soil fertility, good agricultural practices, pesticides and its health and environmental hazards, available and accessible alternatives to chemical pesticides, revised basics of plant protection, identification of plant pests, the control / prevention of pests and methods of sustainable and non-chemical controls. While the training included plenary sessions, case studies and exchange of experiences, the last day of the workshop focused on a field trip to small-scale bio-agriculture sites and on compost manufacturing techniques.

T. Mbaye (Fandène) said in an interview with Sud FM radio and FM Corkate Thies, "We women from the Niayes have long been involved in agriculture, but our greatest issue is mastery of sustainable farming techniques. Thus, large amounts of pesticides are being used to treat crops without knowing its ill-effects on health and the environment. I am sure that at the end of this workshop, participants and other women will adopt new soil fertilization and crop protection techniques. "

The workshop aimed to improve the technical capacity of women in the practice of sound and sustainable agriculture in all aspects and educate them on soil fertility, natural means of crop and plant protection.

M. Gueye (Beer), recalled the difficulties women face in soil fertility management. She said "Women from my organization practice organic farming. However, the management of soil fertility has been our major constrain and I think that at the end of this workshop, the learned techniques will help solve this problem. "###

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