Sustainable agricultural development is a cornerstone of the project’s landscape approach to conservation in the Comoros. Over 80% of the rural population depends on small-scale agriculture, yet traditional methods do not prevent erosion or maintain fertility in fields and so are not sustainable in the long term, as well as being one of the main reasons for a historical decline in yields.
The ECDD project is working to introduce techniques that make cultivation easier, increase yields, and also protect natural resources, particularly soil and water. The project has set up series of tests of techniques that have worked well in other countries or in other areas of Anjouan in order to adapt them for use in our target zone. See agroecology.
We are also engaging agronomists through our links with AVSF to carry out research identifying the most productive systems of production, and how traditional systems can be further improved.
Once appropriate techniques have been identified, the project works to help farmers to overcome barriers which prevent them from taking up new techniques to increase the impact of these actions. These barriers can be a lack of information or knowledge, lack of trust in the results, lack of means to buy new equipment, and a lack of capacity to take a risk.
To overcome these barriers the project uses demonstration plots and exchange visits to show the benefits of new techniques, provides ongoing training and support, as well as subsidising equipment and seeds though a credit system.
The project also supports the development of alternative activities that generate funds and reduce pressure on natural resources, notably market gardening.