“This training has changed a lot in my life. I already know how to plan my agricultural activities, I do market research, I am producing to meet the demands of customers, I can have money to feed my family and send my children to school.” Luciano Mario is a farmer and father of five from Nkhame village in Mozambique. Before taking part in farm business skills training, Luciano was struggling to feed his family and said his children to school.
As part of the training, Luciano learned how to plan his farming activities by researching the local market, producing to meet demands, how to make organic fertilisers, compost and new irrigation techniques. As a result of participating in the training, Luciano can afford to send his children to school, provide nutritious meals and has enough left over to invest in compost for the next season. Looking ahead, Luciano is hoping to improve his farming equipment by purchasing a motor pump to irrigate larger areas.
Farming realities in Mozambique
Most crops in Mozambique are dependent on rainfall, with very few farms using irrigation techniques, this means that the productivity of the main food crops is very low, particularly during droughts (Source: FAO). A low yield not only impacts on livelihoods, with nearly 90% of households in Mozambique working in the agricultural sector, it also leads to malnutrition, poor health, low school attendance and increased child labour. To support rural households in the fight against child labour in Mozambique, ECLT is working with implementing partners IDE and FAA to improve agricultural practices, boost income and increase enrolment and retention in education.
Boosting rural livelihoods
Training local farmers to become trainers themselves in Agricultural Business skills builds local capacity and ensures sustainability. Nearly 20 individuals have been trained by iDE to deliver modules on better farming techniques. In July alone over 250 community members attended the training and learned about production planning, irrigation methods, nutrition, food preparation and the creation of producer associations to meet and share good practices. Previously attendees had learnt about greenhouses and four were set up in which community members planted, weeded and irrigated vegetables. In July and August, over 1.6 tons of tomatoes, 138 kg of cabbage, 180 kg of lettuce and 15 kg of onions were harvested across all four sites. Improving farming methods and investing in diverse crops means that rural households not only boost their income but also means that they have a safety blanket in case of poor harvest or low demand.
Improving livelihoods gives rural parents the resources they need to support their children and keep them in school. To keep children away from dangerous work on fields, schools also need to be accessible and welcoming learning environments. FAA have been working in five communities to set up afterschool programmes, improve school buildings and provide school supplies to students. FAA also worked with the schools to set up children’s parliaments as a school club to establish a formal space where children can learn about promoting and protecting their rights. Over 200 children have been involved so far working in four committees focused on advocacy, environment, health and education.
Since 2013, ECLT has supported over 10,000 children and 14,000 adults in the fight against child labour in Mozambique. Over the next 3 years, ECLT plans to help 32,000 more people learn about child labour, safer farming, saving and loaning, improve nutrition, and access better education, working with iDE and FAA to promote and implement locally-owned sustainable solutions in the fight against child labour.