The very first harvest of maize in an Inga alley in Cameroon has just taken place. It was of course Mrs. Mendo’s plot. Here’s a picture:
First maize from Mrs. Mendo’s plot. September 2012. Photo Gaston Bityo 2012.
The internship for the students at FunaVid was a great success last year, so another group of eight are now doing it.
Internship 2012 at FunaVid. Photo Dr. M.L. Dodson 2012.
The internships are a more intensive course for carefully selected students. So far this year’s group have, among other things, done agroforestry modules and seen how these work in practice at FunaVid. They have pruned Inga, planted corn and managed other crops. They also have been evaluating pests and diseases of the mahogany and cedar trees planted on FunaVid premises, directed by the forestry professors of CURLA (part of the university).
The Inga plantations at FunaVid have produced both crops and some Inga seed. The latter is very valuable as there was a disaster with seed production at CURLA. This lack of seed has delayed the extensive Inga planting that Dr. Dodson planned for high up the FunaVid mountain.
Inga plantations at FunaVid. Crop of pineapples on the left, and Inga pods collected from the surrounding trees on the right. Photo Dr. Dodson 2012.
Dr. Valle and other professors from CURLA (the university) has been teaching sustainable land management and farming, including Inga alley cropping, to senior students of local rural high schools for several years.
An important innovation was introduced last year. Instead of teaching all the high students directly they have been teaching the teachers, who will then pass on the knowledge on to their students.
Dr. Valle giving a class to a group of local school teachers. Photo Dr. Dodson 2012.
That way a very much greater number of students will be reached. Some teachers have expressed a desire to teach younger age groups too. Dr. Valle would not have had time to teach more than the senior class, but the teachers will be able to extend the teaching to other classes too if they want to.
An important aspect of teaching at the schools is the provision of small Inga plots at the schools.
School students with an A-frame marking out the contours of the land to plant the Inga so that the planting will resist erosion. Photo Guillermo Valle 2011.
Young Inga in a school Inga plot. Photo Dr. Guillermo Valle 2012.
When the Inga has grown these school plots will be followed up, so they can all learn how to prune and grow crops. These are local, rural schools. Some of the teachers asked if the students’ parents could come to these follow up sessions as well, and of course that is exactly what Dr. Valle wants. That way many farmers can be introduced to the Inga system. It is hoped that by that time there will be a lot more Inga seed production at FunaVid so that the farmers can be started with their own Inga plots.