Critical situation of farmers in Togo

The main economic activity in Togo is agriculture, but the productivity is limited. This is mainly due to the low level of infrastructure and agricultural techniques.

In 1990s, there were sociopolitical troubles in Togo. In order to flee from instability, populations of from the North of the country settled in the vicinity of the Abdoulaye forest, in central region. This is a protected zone, this is why these populations were expelled from this territory in 2004 and they had to leave the villages that they came to build.

This new forced move deteriorated their life conditions that were already regrettable. Confronted with the absence of infrastructure and insufficient farmable land, the population found itself in the situation of extreme instability. Besides famine and poverty they had to face the shortage of water, discouragement and diseases.

Supported by GeTM, the MVCP (Mission of Volunteers against Poverty) put in place different activities to increase revenue of these farm-workers and to improve their life conditions.

Mucuna properties

The mucuna plant is known for its numerous medicinal virtues, such as various stimulant effects  and also its effects regarding Parkinson disease.

The mucuna is not part of human diet, as it is toxic (high L-dopa content) but it is consumed by cattle. Its leaves are rich in protein and are appreciated by oxen, sheep, goats and rabbits.

The mucuna is a known green fertilizer as it is capable to mobilize and recycle soil elements. Thanks to the plant, nitrogen fixation can reach 170kg/ha and nitrogen production returned through residues can reach 200kg/ha. What is more, the mucuna plant produces a significant biomass that lets fight against erosion and weed invasion.  Thus, there is no need to use herbicide.

The results reached after one year of Mucuna growing

Since last year, Mucuna plant has been introduced in farms located around Abdoulaye forest as demonstration plots. In total, 1 ha of demonstration plots have been put in place.

This year the plots where mucuna plant grew last year will be used for farming.

Thus, every plot has been ploughed and the biomass left by the mucuna plant buried. After sowing corn, additional chemical fertilizer has been added to the crops.

When analyzing the results on the plots, farmers together with technicians have noticed that vegetative quality, growth and greenness of corn stalks on these plots are a lot better that on the plots on which only chemical fertilizers have been used.

Thanks to green fertilizer developed through mucuna biomass, the quantity of chemical fertilizers used has been reduced. Around 300kg of this fertilizer have been obtained for corn production on these demonstration plots thanks to organic fertilizer obtained from the mucuna plant.