Angola – A Story of Change ‘Rice’
One of Stories of Change in the framework of CDAIS project where Agrinatura is a partner along with FAO.
Rice is produced in other parts of Angola, but not in the area around Bailundo, though conditions are favourable and there is much local demand. Building on the provision of technical expertise from other organisations, CDAIS is adding capacity development of another sort, of the ‘soft skills’ required to collaborate, learn, engage and adapt. “Now we will grow rice forever” says Marcos Satuala. “This innovation has given us a great thing – a new crop for us. And with CDAIS we can learn more, and grow more, for our families and to sell.” (cdais website)
Rice Schools with Farmers
With 183 members from 4 village areas, the Associação Alimuat was formed in 2010 by farmers who saw the advantages of working together and the advantages that this could bring to everyone. Then in 2015 they took an initiative. As with so many farmers in the area they mainly grow maize and beans, but they also eat rice at home, though they had never grown rice before. Having no idea how to grow it, they made contact with the local agricultural extension agency, the Estação de Desenvolvimento Agrário (EDA) local unit of Instituto de Desenvolvimento Agrário(IDA). They in turn made contact with the national Instituto de Investigação Aronómica (IIA), and an idea was born. The final piece of the puzzle was to link up with the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA), who agreed to offer material and technical assistance for a two-year period. And one of the innovations that was created was the ‘rice school’.
In 2016, this rice partnership was selected to be one of the CDAIS innovation partnerships. Farmers were receiving seeds and other inputs and technical training, but still lacked adequate functional capacities to make the most of this support. So CDAIS could help to fill that gap. The work goes on, with farmers now preparing for their second harvest, and they are learning all the time. IIA and IDA have established several sites for the innovative ‘rice schools’, where association members come and work each Monday, to learn basic skills, and where they are also testing new varieties and cultivation techniques. But some farmers are also trying different methods on their own land, for example by looking at the effects on time and cost when transplanting seedlings rather than direct sowing. One farmer, Julino Paulo, explains, “I use fewer seed when transplanting but it takes more time. Now I wait to see which will produce more.”
In one of the meetings, farmers say again that they still need a rice dehusker. So the question is asked, again, “how will you get one? You think, you decide.” And now they think… and one can hear the whispers – ‘we can’t just ask for one’ – and they discuss between themselves, and one replies. “If we become a formalised group we can ask for a loan, and buy one that everyone can use…” And that process is CDAIS, in practice.
“But we still need to convince the government that to support us in our efforts is good for the national economy, as it will reduce rice imports” says Zacarias Cassinda. And this is a point that will surely be taken up to the national level for the policy dialogue that CDAIS is in the process of organising.
And although the association has a charter and has elected members into positions of chair, secretary, treasurer, etc., they are still not formalised. CDAIS will now help them go through the legal process of registering their association, and which will empower them when they choose to approach banks for loans, or others for additional support
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Source by (cdais website)