Hands-on Training on Water Harvesting Technology, Bio-intensive Agriculture Farming System, and Enclosed Compositing

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Farmers from Nepal’s Sindupalanchowak and Ramechap districts attended a four-day hands-on training on water harvesting technology, bio-intensive agriculture farming system, and enclosed composting from 16 to 19 August 2017. The training was organized with support from the Nepal Jesuit Society Institute (NJSI) at the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) Knowledge Park in Godavari. Of the participating farmers, 19 were men and two were women.

Water Harvesting Pond: Water harvesting ponds allow users to collect, store, and use run-off from available sources of water to provide water for household and agricultural use. The entire process of constructing a water-harvesting pond—site selection, layout design, and construction of water harvesting pond—was covered during the hands-on training. As part of the training, the participants constructed a small water-harvesting pond which can collect and store approximately 30,000 liters of water. In a demonstration, over-flow water from a reservoir tank was collected in the pond they made by using a silpaulin ultra violet tarpaulin sheet to avoid ground seepage.

Water harvesting pond constructed by training participants   

Bio-intensive Agriculture Farming System: The training session on bio-intensive agriculture focused on getting maximum yield from a plot of land while simultaneously increasing biodiversity and sustaining soil fertility. As part of the hands-on training, the participants were asked to prepare an eight feet by four feet plot with a two feet depth. Manually digging and loosening soil in beds up to two feet deep aerates the soil up to four inches deeper than what conventional farming methods would allow. Plant roots can hence access more nutrients, hold more water, and generally have more room to grow. The process involves digging two trenches. After the first trench has been dug, soil from the second trench is used to the empty space in the first and its lowest layer is loosened with a spading fork. This process is repeated along the full length of the bed. The second trench is then filled with soil that was removed from the first one. The result is a bed that has been tilled to a depth of 24 inches. When an entire bed has been double dug, the soil will have greater drainage and aeration, which allows the roots to grow much deeper and reach more nutrients. Despite the fact that no soil has been added, the beds are raised as they are aerated. 

Practical exercise on bio-intensive agriculture farming technique

Enclosed Composting: All forms of biomass, including kitchen waste, can be composed in 35 days’ time with the enclosed composting technique. As part of the hands-on exercise, the participants prepared an 8 feet by 4 feet enclosed area and placed logs the length of the enclosure. They then mixed locally collected biomass (leave litter and green grass) and soaked it in cow urine in a bucket before placing the mixture inside the enclosure. The process was repeated until the enclosure was filled. Biomass prepared in such a manner and filled in such enclosed spaces will turn into compost within 35 days.

Hands-on training on enclosed composting and certificate distribution to participants

Feedback from Participants: On the last day of the training, the participants provided feedback to the facilitators. They said that community-based rainwater harvesting (water harvesting pond) can be extremely useful in Ramechap in terms of meeting the local demand for drinking water and water for kitchen garden farming. The participants from Sindupalanchowak district felt that rooftop water collection is more suited to their district as houses are scattered in different areas. The participants said that the training they received on bio-intensive agriculture farming technique and enclosed composting will be very useful for both seasonal farming and off-season vegetable farming. 

NJSI provided the participants certificates upon the completion of the training.