IPM training for women
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CTA. 2008. IPM training for women. Rural Radio Resource Pack 08/2. Wageningen, The Netherlands: CTA.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/57216
Why training groups of women farmers in IPM is important
IPM training for women Cue: In sub-Saharan Africa, 80 per cent of food crops are grown by women. But while women have a huge responsibility for food production, they typically have low levels of training in farming methods. As a result, the harvests from their plots are much lower than they should be. There are many reasons why women have tended to receive little training. Extension activities may have focussed on cash crops; women have been restricted from attending because they are looking after babies or small children. But that situation does seem to be changing. For example, by belonging to a group, women are gaining new opportunities for training. Dr Florence Olubayo is a senior lecturer at the University of Nairobi, and a specialist in crop protection. She spoke to Eric Kadenge about her work with women?s groups to give training in pest management. IN: ?Well I would say in terms ? OUT: ? we need to continue training.? DUR?N: 4?59? BACK ANNOUNCEMENT: Dr Florence Olubayo, giving some reasons why training for Africa?s women farmers in pest management techniques is so important. The interview comes from a resource pack produced by CTA. Transcript Olubayo Well I would say in terms of now practical IPM it would actually be profitable or it would be advisable if we had training, field training for women groups. Because a lot of women groups are involved in farming activities and knowledge is important and I would like just to cite an example where, through our funded research we have done pest management through farmer field schools and we find that most of the groups that we meet out there are actually women and they are very willing to learn. So an increase in these kind of field trainings, funding for researchers or even university lecturers to go out there and do field training for women groups in safe pest management, which is really what IPM is about, would be very important for our agriculture. I personally have done that on several crops in terms of training, where we go out there with our actual insects and the pest management options. Even while you train you actually get knowledge from the farmers, how are they coping and you can be able to incorporate this in the research programmes, to be able to validate the kind of methods they are using and then include in IPM packages. Kadenge Perhaps you could point out maybe one women?s group somewhere that has been very successful in this and what kind of PM you have been working with them on? Olubayo Now the group that we worked with in Deya and in Jambini, a majority were women and these are groups that grow seed potatoes. Now our programme was mainly on how can they grow safe seed potatoes, because potatoes have a lot of virus problems and these viruses are passed by insects. So we actually went practically to show them what the symptoms look like, what the insect that is passing the virus looks like and how they can manage. Simple methods just like pulling out those that look like they are too affected by the virus therefore it would not be good seed, and that is really a component of IPM, a safe one. And then we were advocating how they can sample the aphid now that they know the insect and how they can tag the plants that are looking healthy enough so that they can continue with the cleaner seed and then eat the potatoes that are coming from the virused plants. And the reception was very good. Why I am saying I can consider this mainly knowledge that went majority to women, because three quarters of these groups were women and they were really excited to be able to know the small insects they see are actually passing a disease which makes them produce less seed and therefore produce less potatoes. So it can be done and I think that it is a very good way of actually taking IPM to the farmers. Kadenge Now eating the potatoes that are infected does not cause any harm to their bodies? Olubayo No it does not because it just means the virus is in the latent form in the potato, it has no problem. The only thing is if you plant it then that plant will express the symptoms and you will get less yield. Kadenge Anything else that you would probably like to share as we wind up this interview? Olubayo I would just like to say, as a women scientist, I have seen an increase in women getting interested in science in terms of agriculture. And we need to encourage - if we have to increase food production and therefore meet the millennium development goal number one which is food security - we actually need to encourage women to get into these practical sciences, so that when they go out there to the field the encouragement is there, not only for the women who are growing to see that our daughters are actually interested in what we are doing, they want to help us, but also in encouraging young girls to get into the science of agriculture so that we can sustain food production. Because you find that the children in high school tend to think agriculture is a dirty business and yet for any country, if you cannot feed yourself then therefore, even the economy you are talking about will not work. Because first and foremost we have to feed ourselves and IPM is the way forward for managing pests and diseases because you cannot eradicate. We have to think of ways how we can safely reduce the damage caused by diseases and pests because we have to safeguard the environment. And with changing of climate we are likely to get more challenges, so we need to be on our toes and we need capacity. So we need to continue training. End of track