The baseline survey conducted at the start of project implementation showed that 17% of respondent households were using crop residues as fuel. In the course of project implementation, the community was empowered to use crop residues as livestock feed and the manure from the animals was used to replenish nutrients in the soil. Survey of the groups working with the project showed that all households own some type of livestock. Use of crop residues as livestock feed instead of grazing in communal grounds is concentrating manure in the homestead and this is used in crop production.
To supplement livestock manure, the community was trained on composting at group level and each group has at least one composting pit. The pits were replicated in individual farms and the compost was used to replenish soil nutrients.
Traditional methods of soil fertility management, including crop rotation, were also encouraged and project team members, in partnership with Ministry of Agriculture extension staff, actively created awareness and sensitised project beneficiaries – both direct and indirect, on the benefits of doing so. The project team also continued to build capacity of the target communities to conserve soil through terracing. The partnership forged with Ministry of Agriculture, through MOUs signed with respective district/divisional extension staff has incrementally played an instrumental role in these trainings. The project team ensured that newly trained groups were equipped with terrace marking and laying equipment for future use – as community assets.