Shouldering the burdens of the poor
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|A computer-based Tool-box for promoting and supporting draught animal power|
A new toolkit is available that makes clear the benefits of using draught animals to provide power on-farm. It’s now being recognized that the use of animals is not a backward technology, but rather one that provides real benefits. They can, for example, be used to apply minimum tillage and prevent erosion in fields – because they do not tear up the ground in the same way that a tractor would. Available on CD-ROM, the new toolkit contains a large amount of information and training materials on animal power, including examples and case studies from Africa, Asia and Latin America. Subjects covered include animal welfare and keeping animals healthy, as well as techniques for conservation agriculture.
Project Ref: LPP09 :
Livestock Production Programme (LPP)
Relevant Research Projects:
Project ZC0204: Preparation of a practical Draught Animal Power Toolbox
The main commodity upon which the output (s) focused was Intermediate Technology for Farm Power and Transportation Support. CD ROM toolkits can be applied to virtually all other aspects of agricultural development and advancement.
ICT based information and training resources can be clustered with virtually all other outputs dealing with farm power sources of intermediate nature, efficient information dissemination and even interactive end-user support to rural development. Some of the ways in which this output and its related projections can have added value includes:
KENDAT outputs on this project could be clustered with projects with the following projects:
How the outputs were validated:
The toolkit was validated by animal power promoters, trainers and some users after commentary and email discussions towards perfection from animal power experts and enthusiasts from around the world.
The Kenya Network for Dissemination of Agricultural Technologies (KENDAT) has used the toolkit for regular animal power training courses in Conservation Agriculture for Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development (CA-SARD: GCP/RAF/290/GER, FAO, German Trust Fund Project), Farmer Field School Facilitators and District Coordinators as well as in Animal Welfare training: The Heshimu Punda(Respect the Donkey) Programme, Community Groups and Primary School Programmes.
The Toolkit has also been used under the FARM Africa supported Conservation Agriculture equipment and Artisanry Training project by KENDAT in Kenya and CAPA in Tanzania.
Other users have been market transporters under the International Forum for Rural Transport and Development (IFRTD) Poverty Watch Programme who used the KENDAT Community Parliament platform for advancing the inclusion of transport issues in poverty discussions under the topic of “Intensified Use of Intermediate Means of Transport”.
Overall; topics covered included work animal selection and utilization including equipment and accessories (harnessing, panniers etc.), equipment sizing and adjustments (carting and tillage equipment, loading) and welfare (nutrition, watering, husbandry etc.) Download handouts for users including learner’s fliers were used in the training courses. Equipment hirers and village artisans under CA-SARD training back-up services (by KENDAT) learnt about equipment and cart loading, adjustments and limits, among other issues of business venture.
The training materials were accepted as very useful to the various trainers who had previously suffered from the lack of pertinent coherent information in topics of training among end-user practitioners. Handouts and fliers received in the training of trainers courses proved useful as re-circulated training materials for subsequent training at Farmer Field Schools, Donkey User Groups and other sittings. Some 400 formal and informal trainees (in about equal ratios of men and women) in field level remote areas (across some 50 FFS of the CA-SARD Project) must have benefited from the Toolkit.
No formal evaluation of the impact on agricultural “behaviours and practices” have been observed. Advances in CA would be difficult to link directly to the use for the toolkit, which is a means to a training end.
Where the Outputs were Validated:
The toolkit was validated by animal power promoters, trainers and some users in Europe, Asia, Latin America and the East and Southern Africa region in early 2005. The Kenya Network for Dissemination of Agricultural Technologies (KENDAT) has used the toolkit for regular animal power training courses in 2005-2006 including the CA-SARD: GCP/RAF/290/GER, FAO, German Trust Fund Project which was conducted 2004-2006 in Kenya and Tanzania.
The Heshimu Punda (Respect the Donkey) Programme, Community Groups and Primary School Programmes were carried out in two Districts in Kenya: Kiambu and Kirinyaga.
Copies of the Toolkit were circulated as learning and training tools across member countries of the Animal Traction Network for Eastern and Southern Africa (ATNESA), namely: South Africa, Namibia, Malawi, Zambia, Tanzania, Uganda and Ethiopia.
The FARM Africa Project was conducted by KENDAT in Kenya’s Machakos District and by SCAPA in Arumeru District in Tanzania (2004-2006). The Livestock Production Programme of NRIL uploaded the toolkit on their website (December 2005) with the appropriate linkages to other sources of animal power information around the world.
Farming systems involved were the Smallholder rain-fed humid and Smallholder highland farming systems, some with semi-arid conditions.
Who are the Users?
Outputs are currently being used by animal power trainers in NGOs and government extension services in the Eastern and Southern Africa region. Toolkit copies were particularly circulated to animal power activists in the region through mailing and distribution at Poverty Watch meetings, regional NRIL meetings in the East Africa region as organised by NIDA and other partners.
Other circulation opportunities were during the Conservation Agriculture meetings such as the 3rd World Congress on Conservation Agriculture held in Nairobi in September 2005. Some 54 countries with an attendance of 320 delegates were represented. Not all the delegated received copies of the Toolkit as only those known to have direct links to DAP promotional activities were included.
Others, worldwide are reaching the toolkit through the LPP/NRIL and by contacts made through the Animal Traction Network for Eastern and Southern Africa (ATNESA) and associated websites such as KENDAT and Africa Conservation Tillage Network.
Where the outputs have been used:
As stated above (12) outputs are currently being used in various parts of the world and specifically in the Eastern and Southern Africa countries. At the 3rd World Congress some DAP activists from West Africa, Asia and Latin America were provided with copies of the Toolkit. Those in regular training for DAP are most likely using the same on a regular basis. No formal survey of users has been made but word-of-mouth and/or occasional email feedback would indicate that the toolkit has been found to be most valuable by those who have used and continue to use it. Tanzania users will eventually need Swahili version, especially for user handouts and fliers.
Scale of Current Use:
It is hard to report the scale of current use of the Toolkit. Its use was established immediately draft copies were sent around the world for comments and suggestions on errors, omissions or additional material. KENDAT has continually made copies for visitors to her headquarters in Nairobi Kenya. Copies have also been made and carried to colleagues met at various meetings attended nationally, regionally and internationally.
It is likely that the free-to-copy CD-ROM versions availed to KENDAT, DAP collaborators and partners are copied for other colleagues and various field staff of collaborating organisations.
Policy and Institutional Structures, and Key Components for Success:
There is increasing discussion, programmes and activities in the intensified fight against poverty.
In the Strategy for Revitalising Agriculture (SRA – 2004-2014), an off-shoot of the Economic Recovery Strategy for Wealth and Employment Creation (ERS – 2003-2007) of the current administration of the Kenya Government states under:
A key growing platform of the SRA (see bullet points immediately above) is the expressed need for Kenya Government to engage end-users and farmers more directly in processes of gaining “voice and choice”, hence determining their own challenges, if not development pace.
A key existing platform for enhanced use of the Toolkit is increased access and the extent to which use of computers, internet services etc. are quickly becoming common place. Rural persons are increasingly able to access Internet Caf�s and Bureaus to use computers that were purely out of reach previously.
Key facts of success:
Lessons Learned and Uptake Pathways
Promotion of Outputs:
There have been no specific and determined efforts towards promotion of the Toolkit. KENDAT and LPP have taken every opportunity to get possible users to know of its existence and how they could use it including making copies available to such individuals and institutions.
Potential Barriers Preventing Adoption of Outputs:
How to Overcome Barriers to Adoption of Outputs:
Impacts On Poverty
Poverty Impact Studies:
No poverty impact assessment studies have been conducted. Effect of a toolkit on poverty would be difficult to quantify. A toolkit is a means to an end and it would be difficult to associate reduced poverty directly to its use in a singular sense. Any such undertaking would also necessarily be a long-term affair.
Direct and Indirect Environmental Benefits:
The Draught Animal Power (DAP) Toolbox is a trainer and users tool to help perfect the area of a viable, dependable and efficient, renewable energy source for farming communities in vulnerable, yet intensely used soils. DAP passes the test and qualifies for categorisation as a “Green Energy” and a “Smokeless Technology”. Draught animals themselves depend on renewable energy.
Draught animals produce manure that can add to soil fertility and productivity. The Toolkit touches on use of DAP and recently introduced equipment for Conservation Agriculture which refers to farming with minimal soils disturbance, permanent soils cover and appropriate crop mixes in rotations that increase biomass and in situ soil life (fauna) enhancement and biodiversity.
Animal power is promoted which enhances the much needed mixed farming systems that raise the likeliness of carbon sequestration, hence the direct reduction of green house gases. DAP is attractive for agricultural and rural development as it meets the criteria for sustainable development, hence genuine contribution to advancement of livelihoods. CA which is animal powered for the majority smallholder farmers improves organic matter, improves soil structure and improves water infiltration and holding capacity. CA reduces labour input and promotes leguminous cover crops for smallholder farming, giving farmers improved yields and nutrition. Better-fed farmers using less labour have more time to concentrate on environment protection training and practice.
Adverse Environmental Impacts:
There are no known obvious or adverse environmental impacts related to the DAP Toolkit which is a CD-ROM based computer, interactive learning kit.
Coping with the Effects of Climate Change, or Risk from Natural Disasters:
As mentioned above. the DAP Toolkit is geared to help farmers turn to DAP from drudgerous manual operations. DAP is also a solution to the temptations by leaders and farmers themselves to “modernize” which often means venturing into carbon dioxide emitting motorised operations, built around unsustainable tractorization schemes which help destroy the environment. The more carbon dioxide is emitted the more planet earth and its inhabitants experience floods and droughts, brought about by global warming trends. Animal power and the CA concepts, equipment, practices and applications described in the Toolkit reduces chances of natural disaster by increasing soil carbon in the many ways mentioned above, thus creating resilience. CA is a careful mind engaging journey back to natural forest environment where nature is in a Carbon Cycle and other resilience generating balance.
List of Key Abbreviations
Relevant Research Projects, with links to the