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Script 34.6

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Although these articles have been edited, they have not been verified by DCFRN.

Script

Banana trunks: a treasure for your garden in the dry season
Zingui Messomo Xavier
Communications Officer
INADES Formation
Cameroon

Some farmers in Cameroon found a use for banana trunks after harvest. They put cut up banana trunks between the rows of vegetable crops such as tomatoes, lettuce, and cabbage. As they decompose, the banana trunks release water for the plants. If covered with a bit of soil the trunks will release water more easily. With this technique the plant gets water even in the dry season when water evaporates quickly.

By harvest time the banana trunks have released all the water they contained, but their remnants stay in the ground. When preparing the land for the new crop, the farmers form ridges by mounding soil over the decomposing trunks. When mixed with soil they decompose faster into organic matter which is good fertilizer for the new plants.

So using banana trunks has two big advantages. They provide water for plants and then they decompose and fertilize them. This technique allows you to produce vegetables at lower cost.


An easy way to grow and harvest yams
Shamela Rambadan
Trinidad Teacher
Trinidad and Tobago

Dig a hole about 50 centimetres in diameter and 30 centimetres deep. Place a yam tuber containing the eye (bud) in the hole. Fill the hole with dried leaves, straw, grass clippings or other organic matter. Water well and leave for about a week. As the yam plant grows, the organic materials will gradually break down and will be used as food for the plant and the developing tubers. Place more dead leaves, straw, and grass in the hole as the organic matter breaks down.

Harvesting is easy. Cut the vines quite close to the tuber. Hold the part of the vines that are still attached to the tuber and firmly tug on either side of the tuber. In no time the tuber can be removed from the hole undamaged. Use the old vines as organic matter for the next yam crop.


Protect stored grain
Stephen Zhou, Instructor
Natural Training Centre for Rural Women
Zimbabwe

After shelling your maize, burn the cobs in a twenty litre metal container. Keep the fire going in the container for several days. Add the cobs bit by bit to allow complete burning of each cob. Burn only the cob. You must not burn the grain. After several days of burning, the ash binds together to form a hard clod.

Next, crush the ash clod to a powder. Mix every tonne of grain with one kilogram of these ashes for storage. Make sure the granary is properly sealed. The grain remains insect free for several months, if not years.

This has been practised for several years in Muzarabani communal area in Zimbabwe.