Gliricidia sepium for field and garden
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CTA. 2004. Gliricidia sepium for field and garden. Rural Radio Resource Pack 04/03. Wageningen, The Netherlands: CTA.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/57177
Chris Kakunta visits Harrison Chongwe, an innovative farmer who is using Gliricidia sepium instead of chemical fertilizer, with excellent results.
Gliricidia sepium for field and garden Cue: Gliricidia sepium is a tree with many uses. Originating in the lowlands of Central America, the tree is now planted widely across the tropics, and is commonly used as a living fence species. Its nitrogen-rich leaves can be used as a mulch or green manure; adding the leaves to the soil improves crop production by boosting soil nutrients, controlling weeds, conserving moisture and reducing soil temperatures. Its leaves can also be used as fodder, especially for ruminants, and its branches make good firewood and building materials. In eastern Zambia, the World Agroforestry Centre has been working closely with farmers to develop better ways of using this versatile tree. Chris Kakunta spoke to one of these farmers, Harrison Chongwe from Chipata North, about how cultivating Gliricidia sepium, and using the leaves as a green manure, has affected his productivity, both in his maize fields and in his vegetable garden. IN: ?This tree is a tree that will continue.? OUT: ?. have palatable vegetables on their plate.? DUR?N 3?57? BACK ANNOUNCEMENT: Chris Kakunta was talking to Harrison Chongwe, known as the Professor because of his agroforestry innovations. Transcript Chongwe This tree is a tree that will continue to supply fertility into your garden because once you plant it, you plant it at least for a long time. You can cut the stump, it will re-shoot, regenerating each time supplying leaves every season. Kakunta We are right up in your garden. Could you just show me some of the vegetables that you have grown and perhaps also show me exactly what type of leaves you have put in the soil. Let?s go and show me. Chongwe Yes sure. Kakunta I can see that you have some onion here and some cabbages. What did you do to these crops, they look so beautiful? Chongwe Oh yes, in this area here, this is the red creola onion and I?ve applied Gliricidia sepium leaves, we call it biomass technology. We have got a first bed of onions, a second bed of sugarloaf cabbage, in fact six of them I have been applying, have incorporated them with Gliricidia sepium. Kakunta With the leaves? Chongwe With the leaves. Kakunta So the leaves are actually helping you fertilise your crop in the main field as well as in the garden? Chongwe Yes it does. So researchers have come up to say a farmer could be helped for two seasons possibly. During the rainy season we can apply biomass in the main field, but off-season it could be useful in somewhere. So they have come up with a good answer to say, can?t we try it on a dimba, in the garden? Kakunta And it?s working also well? Chongwe And it is working so well. Kakunta So are you benefiting from this technology Mr Chongwe? Chongwe Yes very much so because it has saved me with the fertiliser headache. Kakunta So in terms of the yield, how different is this yield compared to when you were applying fertilisers? Chongwe Previously if fertiliser could come in good time it could put up a good yield. But of late, during the past ten years there has been an erratic supply of fertilisers. So you cannot say I had a good harvest time previously but this time my harvest is steadily increasing. Kakunta Obviously one would say why did it take so long for you to actually embark on this project? You didn?t know about it? Chongwe No, the thing is when you are given trials by the researchers each project has got its own advantages or disadvantages. But in this one here the only disadvantage is the labour that is involved, there is intensive labour. It takes time to learn, that is what I can say. But now this technology is settling with me, I can do anything, I?ve got my own innovations as you can see. Kakunta In fact I?m told they call you Professor in this area? Why do they call you Professor? Chongwe That name came as a professor because the retired general at the head office paid me a visit. And seeing my work that we have done as partners, researchers and the farmers, they were impressed. Kakunta Wonderful. Now as we come to the end of the interview Mr Chongwe, what would you like to tell your fellow farmers who are yet to practise this concept? Chongwe My word is to encourage them to participate in this technology. This technology is very much free. Anybody can take it. If they have got a dimba they should also try it on the dimba and they will have palatable vegetables on their plate. End of track.