Monitoring is crucial
Key to our approach is the desire to monitor change that our interventions make on the people and the environment especially the soil fertility improvement. As such, we have gathered baseline data for all the enrolled farmers to assess their knowledge of regenerative farming, their income and food consumption as well as willingness to enrol and fully participate in the project. A snapshot of the baseline data indicates that, 71% out of the 50 enrolled refugee farmers are females, with 40% of these having six or more household members. Of the enrolled farmers, 50% indicated they had never grown vegetables, and only had a vegetable meal once in a week! Those who grow vegetables indicated that their crops were always poor and never yielded well. All the enrolled farmers were happy to put a side a small piece of land to practice regenerative farming, and on averaged, they committed 6 hours per week for the project. Results from the baseline will be used as a yardstick to guide project implementation and facilitated subsequent evaluation of the project interventions. We are working on a detailed report – so watch this space! On the other hand, we tested the soils from the beneficiary farms to established its nutrient levels and determined what is required for their improvement. The tests discovered that the soils were low on moisture and the water retention was poor – it also had very low nutrients especially nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium and low organic matter. Our intervention will therefore apply strategies such as mulching, use of manures and organic fertilizers as well as irrigation in order to regenerate these soils. This will ensure that farmers’ fields yield enough food for their household consumption and surplus for sale.