Martin Lishman supports soil education in rural Mozambique
The challenge of optimizing crop production without first understanding the soil requirements can lead to somewhat of a guessing game. Get it wrong and problems such as excess fertilization and contamination will wreak havoc, get it right and improving the nutritional balance of the growing crop whilst saving money and energy are the rewards. For the students of the Rural Family Polytechnical Institute of Mecuburi (IPFR Mecuburi) in Mozambique, success has become a reality as they learn to preserve the environment and create healthier, more sustainable agriculture with the help of an array of soil testing equipment supplied by UK based company Martin Lishman Ltd.
The predominantly rural Mecuburi district in the north-eastern part of Mozambique is an area of over 7,000km2,surviving mostly from subsistence agriculture of diverse crops such as cotton, peanuts, corn, beans, and cassava. The IPFR Mecuburi is part of an on-going project to develop educational activities that contribute to the development of the rural environment, supported by collaborating companies to provide the tools and equipment needed for training.
“Our Institute is part of an impoverished and challenging rural community, but with real and significant development opportunities”, explains Moacir Filipin, Production and Finance Director for IPFR Mecuburi. “We are dedicated to the training of agricultural technicians who, together with the local community, can help to achieve long term improvements to the production and productivity of agricultural and livestock resources.”
Martin Lishman was approached by an international aid consultant from Brazil helping to promote and develop rural education in agriculture. The aim was to create a ‘soils laboratory’ for students with a focus on testing soil fertility and sewage effluent. Dr Gavin Lishman, Managing Director of Martin Lishman Ltd said, “We were very happy to have been able to support the project. We work with farmers and producers all over the world, but this was an unusual and exciting opportunity for our company. As an ecologist myself, the Mecuburi Institute’s principles of soil conservation and rural education to assist farmers to understand and manage their own land are very close to my heart, and I wish them great future success with the project.”
Martin Lishman’s soil testing range is specially developed to aid the farmer, grower or specialist in providing quick ‘on the spot’ analysis of soil. The range of in-field test kits covers typical on-farm requirements for testing pH, N, P and K and goes all the way up to a comprehensive soil management kit aimed at agronomists or soil scientists that includes testing of a wide range of minerals. The institute opted for the soil fertility kit, a sewage effluent kit, a soil sampler, compaction tester and soil temperature thermometer.
As part of the education and learning process, a technician with a PhD in soil analysis from the Agricultural Research Institute of Mozambique instructed the IPFR Mecuburiteam in how to use and care for the equipment and included theory and practical classes in how to collect and analyse the institute’s vegetable garden soil.
Moacir Filipin closed with, “We have managed to raise the level of basic soil training for our students, which is a great advance for the municipality of Mecuburi. We obtained very useful results in relation to soil quality, specifically in horticultural production. We are proud to say that the use of this technology is a great innovation for us and quite unique in the entire region, and we are very grateful for the part that Martin Lishman has played in this.”
In a wider dimension to the project’s success, Director Filipin also added, “Our next class of 50 students, both male and female, will gain a greater understanding of soil and be able to pass it on to their families and communities. It is part of our commitment to create a more dignified life opportunity for this portion of the Mozambican population.”
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