West Africa Agriculture Ouidah, Benin Monday, September 11, 2006
Down on the farm, in Indiana, that is Andy, however I still have trouble learning how they farm, what they grow, how they cultivate, and all the other ideas of farming in a country where they do not just plant wheat and corn… Papaya is not the same.
I have notice two farmers.
This is large furrows, all done by hand with a small mattocks like tool, extremely time consuming, then there is the additional problem of how to plow under or clear the land of the prior crop or loosed weeds and grasses, etc. The large furrow may be to allow the farmer to flood the furrow with water, however there is no obvious irrigation here.
The tool hanging on the top, with the flat curved plate it the tool they use to dig the furrows. Most of these tools are made in West Africa; I have seen some very good iron works here or shaping of metals.
Rainfall, one theory I am exploring or one explanation of why there are problems with food diversity here may be this.
The weeds, jungle, etc grow so fast, that with hand tools it is almost never cleared enough to be used for a good crop. Vegetables like Carrots, Peas, and even cucumbers can be strangled by the overgrowth of plants. Spending all your time digging furrows, clearing the land every time you plant a crop, diminished the ability to cultivate, weed and nurture the crop.
There is some very asinine and truly not clear on how to empathize with people idea that they like to be primitive. This is one of the most harmful ideas going, as the primitive growing methods are encouraged, because the observers like to see how it is done, instead of saying, would you like a tractor.
Amazing on cooking, they Volunteers will so often help to make a more efficient cooking stove, when all the want is propane stoves.
Competition of labor is now the problem, a farmer has problems finding workers for his fields, as the young would, and understandable, try to be a Moto, Zim or Motorcycle Taxi then to spend the day sweating away with a hoe. They know there is a better way; it stops them from using the older ways.