A team of WorldVeg staff fanned out across Mali to assess field conditions at group training locations
The WorldVeg West and Central Africa – Dry Regions team has been busy monitoring field activities in Best Practice Hubs (BPH) and Vegetable Technology Immersion Clusters (VTIC) throughout Mali. From 5-15 March 2018, Bola Amoke Awotide, Postdoctoral Scientist in Agricultural Economics, Keriba Coulibaly, Site Coordinator, Sikasso Region, and Honafing Diarra, Research Assistant in Nutrition and WASH, met with BPH and VTIC field supervisors and technicians to evaluate crops in the field and check on equipment maintenance.
At a BPH, farmers can learn methods and techniques to improve their soils, protect their crops, and increase their yields. They also receive instruction on postharvest practices to ensure more of the vegetables they grow reach the market and consumers. VTICs provide a water source and training in vegetable gardening.
The two platforms offer another important service: they are information distribution and training venues for nutrition and WASH (water-sanitation-hygiene) activities. When the human body is weakened by illness contracted through poor sanitation, it cannot absorb the nutrients in vegetables and other foods. Regular handwashing, good sanitation practices in food preparation, and use of well-maintained latrines can help prevent the spread of diarrhea and other illnesses. WorldVeg trainers also show parents how to prepare nutrient-rich, easy-to-digest porridge with vegetables to feed infants and young children, to give them a healthy start on life.
The team noted the need to repair some solar pumps, secure access to water for gardens, and provided additional training for farmers that want to produce new crops such as carrot and beet. The field evaluation will help the BPHs and VTICs operate with greater efficiency to benefit local vegetable producers and consumers.
Story and photos: Bola Amoke Awotide