I am the lead trainer at H4BF Cooperative(www.h4bfcooperative.com) demonstration farm where we aim to protect the environment, expand the Earth’s natural resource base, maintain and improve soil fertility, promote environmental stewardship, enhance quality of life for farm families and communities and increase production for human food and fiber needs.
Integrated crop protection involves combining various sustainable crop protection methods in order to avoid diseases and pests or to suppress them. The aim is to harm the environment as little as possible. Chemical agents are used only to a very limited extent.
My Methodological Approach
Aphids, mites, spider and other pests cause a lot of damage to crops. So, having experienced this setback and the high cost of pesticide and the negative effect of some of these pesticides to crops and the environment, I came up with a less costly solution (through online research and my little common sense) on how unfriendly environmental pesticides can be substituted with a homemade pesticide that is most safer to the environment and also affordable.
For this homemade pesticide to be a reality, we collected orange peels from orange sellers around the locality, since oranges are always readily available. We placed them in a glass container and poured two cups (500ml) of boiling water over the peels. The solution was allowed to sit in a warm spot for 24hours. After that, the solution was then poured into a sieve/strainer so that the citrus-infused water could be easily separated from the peels. We added a few drops of castile soap into the solution and mixed thoroughly. This was then put in a squirt bottle and sprayed on the entire plant to ward off most soft-bodied pests.
We have tried this and have recorded exceptional results for the past two years. We now notice we have healthy crops and produce sufficient quantities of healthy foods and contribute to the quality of life in Cameroon.
We have been implementing and training students, farmers, who come for internship, and this have given a lot of encouragement for more youth in Cameroon to engage in Agribusiness. The less expensive orange peel pesticide will help us all have a higher yield during harvest, minimizing cost of production and most importantly keeping our environment safe.
Beneficiaries of this project will include over 3000 students from the Agricultural schools in Bamenda who come for internship at our Bio Demonstration farm and other persons interested in agriculture (cooperative societies, common initiative groups, non-governmental organizations, trainees from agricultural training schools and individual farmers).
At the end of this training, our dream will be for farmers to have a farm free of pests, that they get a higher yield and at the same time keep the environment safe.
To measure our success, we always carry our impact assessment on our farms and with the trainees. We compare their farms with farms of those who have not undergone training. We encourage those that haven’t done the training to come to our centre.
Garden crops do well around my locality and the majority of the people and animals are directly or indirectly dependent on them. However cultivation has been hindered due to pests and diseases and so this is the major driving factor of this project. From our impact assessments, most youth who were into sustainable agriculture and have left because of low output caused by harmful insects.
This method, if well implemented, will get more youth involved as they can find easy and better ways to engage in sustainable agriculture by practicing homemade crop protection methods. Getting better output makes it beneficial and there could be a marginal increase in food production for the household. If successful the training could be extended to other areas.
Bisona Solange, Cameroon