Going green in Bambama
The Bambama vegetable growing association in southwestern Congo has been getting some beautiful yields of organic spinach. These crops were harvested from fallow fields that had been deserted due to lack of fertility. Now, with a few changes in farming practices, the community is getting bigger, and better quality yields, than ever before. The Bateke project is piloting a sustainable farming model at several sites across the landscape. The approach uses crop rotations that incorporate nitrogen-fixing legumes to maintain soil fertility and reduce fallow periods, while providing alternative food sources.
The approach uses crop rotations that incorporate nitrogen-fixing legumes to maintain soil fertility and reduce fallow periods, while providing alternative food sources.
Traditional agriculture in Congo depends on slash and burn techniques. For the first year crop yields are high, but due to the fragility of many rainforest soils, productivity drops quickly and fields are usually abandoned after a single year. Each year, new fields are opened up further expanding the arc of deforestation. The practice is labor intensive and unsustainable, and as populations grow, deforestation increases. In order to stem deforestation, and to promote farming methods that allow the sustainable use of the same fields year after year, WCS is expanding sustainable farming projects already in place and educating communities on these farming practices. The results are pretty lush.