A common outcome for such farmers is that soils become exhausted and nutrient-starved. This in turn increases farmers’ risks to low yields and greater vulnerability to weather extremes and pests. For many such farmers, poaching, charcoal production, and illegal logging have become important supplemental incomes to compensate for their poor farming performance as a way out of poverty.
COMACO’s farmer support services address such issues by promoting improved, low-cost ways small-scale farmers can improve their soils for increasing yields and income opportunities. Such practices, if used properly, will reduce a farmer’s dependence on expensive chemical inputs while improving yields with fewer risks to climate extremes. We refer to this outcome as increased farmer resilience.
Farming skills that COMACO encourages farmers to adopt and helps with extensive training efforts include minimum tillage techniques, making organic fertilizers, agroforestry, cover crops, mulching, crop rotation, and improved seed management. Aligned with these efforts is the manufacture of value-added food products that can sustain increased commodity prices that help drive better incomes as well as increased food security from the improved yields these practices can sustain.