To assist in the practical application of the Integrated Soil Fertility Management (ISFM) technology, the research team developed calendars with specific information on ISFM. These calendars provide specific step-by-step information on how to cultivate maize under conservation agriculture and the process of soybean inoculation. Both technologies were brought to the farmers by the Clinton Development Initiative. The calendar distribution exercise took place in October and November 2018.
We designed and printed 2500 calendars that were distributed to 2500 sampled households from 250 villages in the two study areas that is, 1250 farmers from Mtunthama and Chibvala EPAs. A total of 10 households in each village received the calendars. Hub farmers — who are lead farmers selected from sections of the EPAs after due diligence — were engaged to distribute the calendars. The selected hub Farmers oversee 15 to 20 farmer clubs of 10 to 20 members. We provided the hub farmers with the list of sampled households and supported their logistics for distributing the calendars. The hub farmers were required to visit 250 villages, find the sampled households in those villages and provide the calendars.
The households were quite excited to receive the beautifully designed calendars. They were appreciative of the efforts of the research team for conceptualizing, producing and sharing the calendars with them. The recipients indicated that the ISFM information on the calendars will be a useful guide on best agronomic practices for maize and soybean. They have proudly displayed the calendars on the walls of their homes. The hub farmers also found this calendars distribution experience fruitful as it helped them engage with village communities beyond their own and forge new friendships.