'Subsistence' to 'subsistence plus' farmers
Agriculture is a key pillar of LTT's Poverty Reduction Strategy, we know that if small holder farmers, many of whom are women, are to be lifted out of poverty we need to improve their economic, social and environmental performance. Improved production techniques will lead to increased efficiency, higher yields and improved quality, this is turn increased household food and income security.
We understand that competing priorities creates conflict on the household purse. When you have limited funds do you spend the money on food, health, medication, child education, clothing, home improvements, the farm……. In addition to these problems the households face poor access to health care, poor schooling, and have limited access to financial institutions and suffer from low levels of resilience. Living in rural areas the farmers have no effective voice with authorities and so are unable to affect change through political means. Many feel they live in a hopeless state.
LTT’s Out-Grower Pilot Project demonstrated that by providing applicable agricultural training, combined with health and well-being awareness workshops, financial training and micro-loans, subsistence farmers could bring about changes for themselves in such a manner that they are able to not only meet their obligations but also improve their quality of life and that of their families. In addition they have improved their self-reliance, improved community engagement with each other; improved income diversity and security as well as improved physical income. All of which has resulted in better living conditions, greater opportunities for secondary and further education for their children, better family health, greater resilience and a paradigm shift within the individual psyche from passive participants in a future determined by others to being active participants in a future they can determine for themselves. The farmers have retained their dignity and pride by achieving this for themselves; and most importantly they now have hope for a brighter future.
To date (April 2017) 75 farmers have been trained in Managhat and 25 are still being training, 40 have started their training in Malangi and a further 25 have now been selected to start their training in Waangwaray.
Collecting the data needed to measure the progress that each farmer used to be done through farmer interviews and a pad of paper which for 25 was time consuming, now we are collecting data for 125 and a further 65 will be added to that. To help us we have invested time and funds into buying smart phones and using 'mobile data collection technology'. 3 times a year we plan to collect data for each farmer conducting interviews either at their homes, in the field or at meetings, so that we can analyse their progress faster and offer back to them timely advise.