NGONG Training the Farmers of Tomorrow

Ngong is a project, based in the rural community of Bambui (Northwest region of Cameroon) and aims to improve the livelihoods of farmers and their families by professionalising and revitalising the village’s agricultural sector.

Training the farmers of tomorrow

A two-year programme [2015-2017] to revitalise and professionalise Bambui’s agricultural sector, by improving farmers agricultural skills and levels of productivity, whilst at the same time developing their ability to reach larger, more profitable markets.

What does Ngong want to solve?

Bambui lies on fertile land and the majority of residents are farmers. However, only 0.1% of the agricultural produce is currently being processed into value-added products and most survive on less than $1,25 a day.

How does Ngong solve this?

NGONG delivers intensive agricultural and enterprise skills vocational training to:
• self subsistence farmers (436)
• small agribusiness farmers (134)
• food processors (45)
• market associations (60)
• traders (5)
It also provides tool kits, fruit trees and foundation seeds.

The Project

The NGONG project started on the 19th of June 2015, four months after the planned date but following the farming calendar.

First-year activities

  • Recruiting and training [Cameroon]: 1 Financial officer, 1 communications officer and 1 training officer;
  • Recruiting and training [UK]: 1 Project administrator;
  • Recruiting and training partners and trainers;
  • 27 Weekly meetings with partners and trainers for training activities preparation;
  • Recruiting the beneficiaries: 680 trainees shortlisted from 970 applications;
  • Launching of Ngong project.

Project Governance and Transparency

To ensure participation and transparency Reignite carried out the following activities as part of NGONG project:

  • Creation of two steering committees – Ngong and Njangi
  • 12 x mid year formative evaluation
  • 1 x mid year report
  • 12 x End of Year Monitoring and evaluation sessions
  • 1 x End of year report
  • 1,300 x 1-2-1 sessions on advice, monitoring and support

NGONG training sessions

Listening to trainees expectations and observing practical and theory lessons helped to improve the bespoke training sessions, requiring flexibility, which with open dialogue, permits a smooth delivery of the project.

  • 435 training sessions were delivered on areas including French, numeracy and literacy, agricultural skills such as handling, feeding and breeding livestock; pest management; organic farming methods; irrigation; soil management and crop rotation; planning and harvesting techniques associated with appropriate storage techniques; usage of quality seeds, and appropriate tools and practices (grain drying, seed treatment and crop handling); food processing; organisational and business skills; financial discipline: how to save more, spend less, borrow prudently, and manage debt with strictness.
  • 400 practical demonstration activities focusing on how to increase production through better land management and effective irrigation whilst highlighting the importance of using good quality seeds were organised.
  • 114 training sessions were delivered on entrepreneurship, marketing, leadership and negotiating skills; identifying and exploring the possibility of introducing new products into local markets; market assessment methods and marketing skills, products to sell, how to present them and at what price, at what time and places; management skills and bookkeeping;

Other NGONG’s activities

  • Participation in Tubah Agricultural show where 8 NGONG farmers received awards from the Lord Mayor of Tub. Participation in the Agricultural Shows has contributed to disseminate information about the Ngong project. Several Ngong farmers won awards which raise more awareness about the benefits of the project, amongst the village and the municipality;
  • 10,000 fruit trees distributed
  • Networking with Government and other CSOs
  • Regular field visits to farmer’s compounds and farms were made. The visits helped to the attention of beneficiaries and neighbours, increasing awareness and keeping motivation high, throughout the village.
  • Women’s Day was also a great day of celebrating Ngong, reinforcing ‘ownership” and keeping women together and enthusiastic about their project.
  • A steering committee and the Bambui representative was created. They have been of great help, acting as Ngong ambassadors.

Organic Demonstration Farm

In Bambui, 90% of the community are farmers and these activities represent the support of all life in the village. Vegetable production is the biggest agricultural sector and there are many active groups of farmers (which include women and youths) with some members who are extremely committed and highly skilled.

However, there are still a few groups that have had no training, lack in skills and that do agriculture in small scale because they usually lack in financial means. Another important sector is maize production, which at the moment is not working effectively due to lack of business vision and quantity produced.

With an agriculture-based in mix crops production, the maize sector has no expression, even though it represents 90% of Bambui’s diet.

Another problem has to do with the growth of the livestock sector which with such limited production adds pressure to the levels of maize available for human consumption and animal feed. The local authorities via Tubah Council are aware of this issue and have committed themselves to solve it.

Objective

After consultation with the community, it was envisaged that the solution for this problem should pass through the establishment of Unions (such as BASSUG) in order to provide individual farmers with the knowledge, skills and financial means needed for their activity. It is believed that gathering farmers within cooperatives would improve the general situation as it would be possible to draw a global strategic plan. Alongside this form of organisation, it was highlighted that organic farming together with land management should be a priority in this region.


Project Details

Head of Programme: Mariana Matoso
Project Team Leader: Teresa de Sousa
Project Coordinator: Fernando Vidal
Syllabus Coordinator: Andre Bognet, Dean of School of Agriculture, National Polytechnic Bamenda, NPB
Applicant: Reignite Action for Development
Local Partners: COBEX, SEEDS, National Polytechnic Bamenda (NPB)
Others partners: Northwest Farmers Organisation (NOWEFOR), BACUDA, BUKDA
Estimated Cost: £ 249,000
Community Funds: £3.986
Other Funds: Reignite, Big Lottery Fund, private donors, friends and anonymous.

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