Horti-Sempre and model producer facilitate training of horticultural farmers in seedlings production and preparation of the local substrate

Sustainable agriculture
The production of seedlings in trays and the use of substrates is a challenge for small horticultural farmers in Nampula, who currently use traditional methods of sowing and transplanting seedlings. To solve this problem, training in good agricultural practices is a solution. Horti-Sempre project is promoting the increase of horticultural crop's productivity through the use of improved seeds, the application of Good Agricultural Practices, low-cost techniques and reducing the losses during the vegetative cycle and in postharvest period. To this end, Horti-Sempre facilitates trainings, crop-days, and producer's exchange of experience among other technological transfer methodologies.  

In coordination with a seedlings producer, Mr. Sulaha, a total of 37 smallholder farmers were trained in his greenhouse located in Namiconha community, Ribáuè district. The farmer-to-farmer experience exchange activity included 23 men and 14 women from Mecuburi, Ribáuè and Malema districts.

The objective of the training was to encourage smallholders to use local, low-cost substrates on their fields to improve the production of vegetables and promote seedling commercialization.

Mr. Sulaha is considered one of the model vegetables producer in his district, who is working on scale seedling production and is applying good agricultural practices facilitated by the project.

During the training, participants had the opportunity to learn about the process of selecting locally available materials for making different substrate mixtures based on cattle or goat manure. The importance of screening and disinfection of substrate and trays, using steaming and washing techniques, respectively, was also conveyed. Subsequently, the technique of sowing in the trays with the use of improved seeds promoted by various project partners was demonstrated.

Mr. Suhala, who facilitated this training, said that it is important to transfer these techniques to other producers because

"the use of trays for seedling production brings advantages by increasing productivity and reduces the number of wasted seeds; and the use of the substrate will help in planting."

The farmers had the opportunity to do an experimental practice with three phases:

First, the substrate elaboration.

Second, the disinfection by using a steam generator.

Third, after generating the substrate, they filled the trays; The trays were then wet for better substrate adherence and seed permanence. In turn, the seeds were sown, with one seed per cell.

Finally, the farmers kept the trays in the greenhouse. And these seedlings should be irrigated twice a day.

The group members involved in this activity have the responsibility, after the training, to replicate the knowledge acquired with other producers in their localities in model fields identified in Mecuburi, Ribáuè and Malema districts.

The Horti-Sempre project is financed by Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and implemented by Swisscontact seeks to improve the livelihoods of local small-scale horticultural producers through adequate facilitation that enables access to relevant products and services which aid in an increased capacity to produce and compete in the market.