Institute links with Africare to support Africa’s farmers
The Rodale Institute® and Africare recently forged a partnership to develop farming systems and technologies, and the resources needed to sustain them throughout Africa.

 

Posted January 12, 2006: In Senegal, The Rodale Institute® has provided support in many areas of regenerative and organic agriculture and environmental conservation since 1987, researching and developing systems for farming practices and technologies. The Institute has also helped to empower farming communities in Mali, Tanzania, and Kenya in Africa, as well as programs in Asia and Latin America.

Africare is the US’s oldest and largest African-American led humanitarian organization focusing exclusively on aid to Africa, impacting communities in over 35 countries since 1970. Food security and health are two of the organization’s pivotal focuses, so this teaming agreement represents a commitment to improving the quality of life for farmers and their communities.

Africare Senior Vice President Jeannine Scott remarks, “Africare is very excited about this teaming agreement with The Rodale Institute. Africare’s 35 years of experience in grass roots development is well complimented by The Rodale Institute’s strengths in regenerative agriculture. The majority of farmers Africare works with do not have the resources necessary to benefit from conventional agriculture; however, they are already practicing elements of regenerative agriculture. Africare and The Rodale Institute are now joining forces to positively impact thousands of farmers and their families.”

The Rodale Institute President, John Haberern, says, “Our commitment to promoting regenerative and organic agriculture remains firm. Indeed, the Institute’s efforts have generated significant results such as increased yields by up to 300 percent for farmers in Thies, Senegal. Both of our organizations have committed to identifying joint programming opportunities that will bolster each agency’s technical strengths to support small-scale agriculture throughout Africa.”

For stories on the work of The Institute in Senegal, see the stories in our series Sustainable in Senegal.

Through securing the necessary funding from a diverse cross section of international donors, Africare and The Rodale Institute will generate significant results, improving soil fertility, production, water management and the quality of life for farmers and their communities. Both organizations have partnered with USAID which provided programming funding for their work helping farmers and their communities throughout Africa.

Africare’s work in agriculture

Africare has assisted the people of Africa in the areas of health, HIV/AIDS, agriculture, water, the environment, poverty alleviation, governance — and emergency aid to refugees and displaced persons, victims of flooding and drought, and people impacted by health crises. Its headquarters is in Washington, D.C.

Food security is a cornerstone of Africare’s work, which currently takes place in 26 nations. In 2005, Africare implemented development projects and food aid activities in 13 countries benefiting more than 1.5 million people.

The globally recognized development group has been aiding farmers in Zambia, Mozambique and Zimbabwe to develop small-scale, on-farm oilseed processing utilizing local sunflowers. Africare trained the farmers in business development and operating the presses, along with providing them with improved varieties bred to withstand drought and yield more oil. The effort has provided food, badly needed income and livestock feed from a sustainable system.

Over the course of a decade, Zambians in six provinces bought more than 2,000 hand-operated presses for making cooking oil and more than 150 tons of sunflower planting seed. These businesses provided owners with net incomes of more than twice the annual average.

Africare’s other agricultural-related activities include training farmers in maximizing food production, offering of micro-credit to female entrepreneurs, cooperative marketing development, training caretakers in child nutrition, working with communities in the construction of rural roads, and organizing communal-based digging of wells that provide potable water and sources of irrigation for local inhabitants.