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Forests and Farms, Just what the Doctor Ordered

by Community Forests International on November 22, 2010

After attending the fuel briquette conference, CFI interns Lisa and Brennan took a bus 2 hours west of Arusha to the town of Karatu. There they met up with staff from the Canadian Physicians for Aids Relief (CPAR) to share information on afforestation, conservation agriculture and briquette making.

CPAR formed in 1984 in response to the Ethiopia and Sudan famines as a relief organization and since then has remained in Africa changing its mission over time.

Today the organization takes a very holistic approach to health, regarding healthy environmental conditions as essential to long term health promotion and disease prevention. In addition to AIDS coping and prevention, water supply and sanitation and countless other projects CPAR manages several natural resource management projects that include a farmers field school (school without walls), a seed collection and tree planting program and various agroforestry projects. The interns found it very useful to discuss CPAR's experience with these projects and learned about inter-cropping trees with ground crops and species that were used in CPAR projects as windbreaks, fuel wood, fodder and for pest management.

The visit finalized with a trip to a nearby village where CPAR recently implemented a project to test different methods of farming maize. In discussion with a farmer involved the interns learned that the farmer was most satisfied with using lablab (Lablab sp.) intermixed with corn rather than traditional oxen farming and other cover crop mixtures when considering the labour, time and the harvest yield. Lablab is a very useful legume given that the seeds can be eaten as beans, the flowers and immature pods can be eaten as vegetables and it is an effective cover crop that prevents soil erosion, water loss and is a nitrogen fixer.

To learn more about CPAR's activities in Tanzania visit their blog: www.cpar-tanzania.blogspot.com

 

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