For example, I suggested rice, a viable crop for Zambias wetlands, to the youth group. By digging the irrigation canals deep enough between the crop beds, they can farm fish alongside the rice. Earth excavated from the canals is used to raise the level of other crop beds above water to grow different high value crops.
UN Volunteer Primitivo (Tom) Tengco, (Philippines), is now in his fifth year as a UNV Agriculture Development Specialist and Team Leader of the UNV Asia Youth Volunteer Exchange Programme (AYVEP) in Zambia. Much of the technical support he provides in the rural Choma District involves imparting practices and recommendations to improve local farmers use and supply of water.
During 2011, he coordinated one communitys training courses on better crop and dairy production with the construction of a diversion canal for the local water enclosure. This enabled the dam to impound more water when it rained and thus increased water available for irrigation and watering livestock.
UNVs Youth Environmental Management and Education Project (YEMEP) project provides unemployed youth with skill building in environmentally sustainable farming practices, beekeeping and deforestation mitigation. Tom works on the project together with national UN Volunteer Julie Simuchembo, the YEMEP Volunteer Coordinator, and Jones Mulomba, Choma District Forestry Officer.
Water use and harvesting often come up. Tom helped the Tuyakumbele Youth Group at Gamela use and improve vegetable cropping (planting plan) near a dam. He also assisted a tomato farmer in the group to maximize water use by advising the digging of deeper wells.
Zambias abundant wetlands remind me of the Philippines. I take every opportunity to share proven techniques we use in my homeland that can improve farms efficiency and increase food production.
-- Primitivo (Tom) Tengco, UNV Agriculture Development Specialist
For example, I suggested rice, a viable crop for Zambias wetlands, to the youth group, he continued. By digging the irrigation canals deep enough between the crop beds, they can farm fish alongside the rice, he continued. Earth excavated from the canals is used to raise the level of other crop beds above water to grow different high value crops.
Toms farm visits often result in identifying and constructing water harvest and storage sites so crops can be drip irrigated during the dry season. A visit to a poultry farm even resulted in his providing antibiotics for the chicks drinking water.
AYVEP in Zambia, which runs until 2014, was initiated in 2006 to mobilize skilled women and men from Asia to work as UN Volunteers under the umbrella of a South-South cooperation, whereby skills, knowledge and best practices are transferred between developing nations.
The project, promotes innovative, community-centered and sustainable agricultural methods to improve long term solutions for food security.
Bio: UN Volunteer Primitivo Tom Tengco, from the Philippines, is an Agriculture Development Specialist and Team Leader of the UNV Asia Youth Volunteer Exchange Project in Zambias Choma Southern Province. He was also a UN Volunteer in Botswana and Malawi. Tom is a published farm systems expert with an interest in crops and animal integration. He has worked for almost 35 years developing total sustainable production systems to improve agricultural output. Before becoming a UN Volunteer Tom did research and extension for many years at both the University of the Philippines and The International Rice Research Institute based in Los Banos, Philippines.