Participants in MADE’s graduate internship programme spent four weeks with partner agribusinesses, travelling to smallholder farmer communities with information on COVID-19 preparedness as well as good agricultural practices. This guest series presents their experiences in the field in their own words and photos.
Kimacorn Agro and Engineering Services provides agricultural extension to farmers in Nadowli/Kaleo District in Upper West Region. Through its Farm Enterprise Advisors, it helps farmers to obtain improved seeds such as groundnuts, maize and soybean. They also assist farmers to get fertilisers and agro-chemicals across the district and beyond. I was happy to hear that they give these inputs to serious farmers on credit, and after harvest the farmers will recover the inputs in cash.
During my internship I realised that the enterprise not only provides the inputs to farmers but also assists them with good agricultural practices. The enterprise ensures that farmers receive inputs and use them at the right time; they also teach them how to use these inputs. I was touched when interacting with a farmer in Gbankor who told me of his experiences in the use of an improved variety of maize. His production increased twofold when he used the improved variety and did everything the Farm Enterprise Advisor suggested he should do.
I noticed that most farmers in the village of Sankana are adopting these good agricultural practices because of a demonstration farm sited in the community. In an interview I conducted with some of the farmers in the community, they said that when they imitate the practices carried out on the demonstration farm they see increases in their production. Through the MADE internship programme l gained a lot of experience with these methods, but the one I like most is the use of different mobile phone applications and GPS to take area measurements.
I had previously been hearing the name COVID-19 and knew a few measures for protection, but through my internship with MADE I am now well quipped in all aspects to protect myself from it, and have had the opportunity to sensitise many people. Kimacorn Service customers in Nadowli/Kaleo District are the beneficiaries of my sensitisation. On a follow-up visit after the sensitisation in Sankana, Papu and Gbankor, I realised that the farmers were now observing COVID-19 safety measures, and that made me feel proud of the work I have done.