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R & D: Crop Horticulture Lifestock Integration

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Draught Animal Power | Crop-Horticulture-Livestock | Small Ruminant Project | Socio-Economics & Policy

Banjulinding Horticultural Gardens, a Pilot Farm

The Banjulinding Horticultural Garden (BHG) is one of many horticultural gardens operating in the Greater Banjul Area. Founded in 1979 as a vegetable garden run exclusively by men, the farm was revived when the village women of Banjulnding took over the management of the farm in 1994 with the financial and technical assistance of the Government of the Republic of China. In 1998, the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) through its Cities Feeding People initiative provided financial support for ITC to commence an interactive on-farm research agenda that addresses many factors affecting the peri-urban food production systems. The project contributes directly to the reduction of urban poverty and food insecurity as an important component of the Market Oriented Systems Improvement Programme (MOSIP) objective at ITC.

At BHG, the intensive horticulture-livestock integrated approach to urban food production is one of many ways that ITC and urban farmers are responding to the increasing animal protein demand. In an 'open-air laboratory' approach, ITC researchers commenced the transfer of improved production technologies to the farm in the year 2000.

This integration aims at exploiting the benefits of the horticulture-livestock synergy which includes increased income generation from sales of animal products, in situ production of organic manure and reduced cost of production, positive impact on soil and water and a rational use of dwindling natural resources.

The women farmers and the horticulture industry have been the main intervention targets for obvious reasons:

  • Women empowerment and employment in order to enhance income generation
  • Horticulture industry due to the high demand of the produce and the considerable high residue biomass with high potential use as feed resources

The establishment of a pilot study facility at BHG is a laudable milestone in the development of Urban Agriculture in The Gambia and the maturation of a consolidated crop-livestock integrated process. The project in Banjulnding has proven to be a giant step in the right direction in many ways by;

      1. Enhancing the transfer of improved sustainable technology of production of vegetables, meat and milk.

      2. Increasing the income generation potential and the purchasing power of the women.

      3. The considerable reduction of the need for expensive agro-chemicals, thereby reducing production costs.

      4. Improvement of the general welfare of the local population and the urban farming communities.

The results obtained so far from the project have shown that it is a high impact scheme, visited by the IDRC President and her Governors in February 2002, and dedicated to the improvement of livelihoods of urban farming communities – especially the women. Although there is ample room for development, the farm is operating round the year under rain-fed and irrigated systems. Consequently, as the farm produces round the year, it also generates substantial quantities of biomass as crop residues with appreciable nutritive values to ruminant livestock. Other disciplines investigated at the "open-air laboratory" include agronomy, toxicology, gender roles, socio-economics and animal production. The modalities guiding the integrated approach in the evolving urban farming system approach is an appropriate question of future research and development.