During his visit to Nigeria, SUNY Cobleskill professor of Agriculture, Dr. George Crosby taught the local communities about new techniques in rural agriculture. There also seemed to be a great deal of interest in hydroponic crop culture. On his visit to the Cross River State University of Agriculture, Obubra, Dr. Crosby presented information on SUNY as well as his Moringa oleifera research and work with gravity-feed irrigation systems, followed by a question and answer period, photos and some informal discussions.
The most intriguing preparations made for Agricultural stations was the practical session and demonstration on gravity feed irrigations systems, although it was becoming apparent that wherever they seemed to go to irrigate, it rained! Dr. Crosby brought thirty systems with him that will be used in the two CORAfrica demonstration farms. Should these seem to work well, we will need to come up with a plan to obtain more of these and make them available to farmers. He also brought 1800 packages of vegetable seeds, including tomato, pepper, beets, and cucumber, compliments of Mike Mueller and Hope Seeds. Again, these are available for use in the demonstration farms as well as for distribution.
At Idum village, Dr. Crosby had a chance to again visit about agriculture, irrigation, and Moringa oleifera to 70 students and 45 faculty and staff of St Joseph Orphanage School. They were extremely attentive and seemed to particularly enjoy the practical session and demonstration on gravity feed irrigation systems we did outside. The International Plant Genetic Resources Institute has identified moringa as a priority species of underutilized crops for food security in sub-Saharan Africa. Moringa also has been promoted by non-governmental agencies such as the Church World Service (CWS) and Educational Concerns for Hunger Organization (ECHO) to combat malnutrition among nursing mothers and infants. While there are references to health-related moringa studies in Nigeria in the literature, it remains relatively unknown and underutilized. Chances are moringa has been introduced in some villages and is being used. He also shared his experiences with gravity-feed bucket irrigation systems used in other countries like Uganda and the West Indies. This particular system is in use in over 100 different countries and is especially helpful to farmers during the dry season.To learn more about Dr. Crosby's visit, watch his video travel journal or read about his experiences here.
Recently, we have re-enforced our existing Agricultural stations with the practice on gravity- feed irrigations systems initiated by Dr. Crosby in his 2007 visit courtesy of CORAfrica-USA.
The Agricultural stations located in Idum-Mbube now boast of yams, cassava and various species of vegetables and are managed by students of the St Joseph"s School System.
The Moringa Farm initiated by CORAfrica in Obudu this year alone yielded fruits that were marketed for over 20,000 Naira as income.
This year, we hope to build additional partnerships with Cornell University, the SUNY Cobleskill campus and the Cross River State Ministry of Agriculture for improving Cassava farming and production. We are hopeful that these partnerships will materialize, with the goal to help children learn agriculture as a future vocation and thus to provide them with a sustainable future..