On-farm demonstrations in Koga facilitate knowledge-exchange

AgroBIG continues to work in Koga irrigation command area in North Mecha, addressing challenges related to soil fertility management, use of lime and quality seed.  The programme has teamed up with Koga Irrigation Project (KIP) agronomists to establish 18 on-farm potato and onion trials in the area.

Koga Irrigation Project (KIP) agronomists examining potato crops in the command area.

The trials will demonstrate the differences in yield and market value of improved versus local potato varieties, show the effect of lime in decreasing the effect of soil acidity on the yield of both crops, and show the positive effects of the application of recommended fertilizers on both potato and onion.

The side-by-side comparison of new and traditional techniques in farmers’ fields will allow farmers to physically observe differences. The demonstration plots will also serve as fertile learning ground, facilitating mutual learning and knowledge-exchange on good agricultural practices, economic trade-offs, quality considerations and other topics of relevance

A model farmer preparing his demonstration field for planting onion.

Farmers are likely to adopt new technologies and practices more easily when they have confidence in what they have learned and ownership of their knowledge.

The large-scale Koga Irrigation Scheme in North Mecha covers more than 7,000 hectares and enables reliable access to irrigation during the off-season for more than 10,000 small scale farmers.

Despite this competitive advantage, chronic shortages in input supply, acid soils, weak agribusiness skills and poor market linkage, have prevented the horticultural production and marketing business from flourishing.

During Phase I, AgroBIG assisted farmers in the Koga area in accessing quality seed, and encouraged farmers to adopt staggered planting and good agronomic and post-harvest practices.