The Daughters of Charity have been present at Moutourwa in Cameroon since November 1987. The District of Moutourwa is located in the Far North region of Cameroon, the most arid region of the country. It is a steppe region, sandy and clayey in places where millet and cotton are grown.
The population barely supports itself thanks to a small activity of breeding and agriculture. Unfortunately, these two sources of subsistence are highly dependent on the climatic hazards that condition the nutritional status of the entire population.
At present, the Community of the Daughters of Charity of Moutorwa, composed of five Sisters, is developing several activities in the areas of health, pastoral care, in the accompaniment and formation of young adults as well as in projects for the development and promotion of the person.
This conservation agriculture project led by Sr. Lilian aims to develop better land management practices to reduce poverty in rural areas.
Until now, the population has used the conventional method of cultivation, which consists of chemical weeding, followed by ploughing with draught animals and seeding. After each harvest, farmers get rid of all the residues from the previous crop. Entire plots of land are often burned for this purpose. Over the years, this practice unfortunately contributes to the loss or degeneration of arable land.
With the growing needs of the population, the land becomes poorer every year. Fragile soils, increasing aridity and practices such as overgrazing, production of exhausting crops, as well as the collection of firewood, are degrading more than two thirds of African land. The impact of weather conditions as a result of climate change is further impoverishing land and reducing agricultural yields. People have to look for new land to survive.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, conservation agriculture is a farming system that can prevent the loss of arable land while regenerating degraded land. It provides for the maintenance of permanent soil cover and diversification of plant species with minimal tillage. It also increases biodiversity and stimulates natural biological processes that take place above and below the soil surface, contributing to more efficient water and nutrient management and sustainably improving crop production.
Conservation Agriculture also has direct effects on the daily lives of farmers. Reducing the amount of labour time required for tillage, soil preparation and weeding changes their daily and seasonal schedules. In the long term, this changes the pace of their families' lives. With more time at their disposal, farmers can diversify their activities: raise poultry, sell their products directly on the farm or develop small off-farm businesses. The main change for the farmer is that Conservation Agriculture allows him to reduce his energy and labour requirements. For field crops, overall energy requirements can be reduced by up to 60% through Conservation Agriculture compared to conventional farming.
"With a team formed by Mr. Alain Guilez (expert) and myself, we prepared training sessions to explain the definition, practice and benefits of Conservation Agriculture to a few people in the local community using videos taken from the internet. Then, together, we practiced it on a small plot of land. We saw the difference in yield." Sister Lilian
Given the success of this experience we want to continue it to the benefit of 15 well motivated people (and their families) who have been chosen from the local community. They are ready to commit themselves, to train and practice the new methods taught, and to serve as an example for others in the community.
The objectives of our project
The beneficiaries are young people as well as fathers. The youngest is 21 years old and the oldest is 46 years old.
"It is a group of motivated people, who are hard-working and interested in the project. Our goal is to train them so that they in turn can pass on this new expertise in their living environment. As a result, we estimate that at least a hundred other people through their example will benefit from the project in the short term. Our long-term goal is to transform the entire village and its surroundings by practicing this Conservation Agriculture technique." Sister Lilian
The Community of Moutourwa is counting on you, so that together we can concretely improve the living conditions of farmers in the face of climatic hazards while protecting the environment!
With your support, you promote innovation and you act at their side.
Thank you for your mobilization!
I am Sister Lilian SIRRI, I have 20 years of vocation. I have been in the community of Moutourwa since August 2018, where we are five Sisters. We are on mission in St. Theresa's Hospital in Moutourwa - Cameroon - and engaged in pastoral activities and projects for the development and promotion of the person. In particular, I am in charge of the Conservation Agriculture - Sustainability project.
Thank you all for supporting us in this beautiful project!