International Sustainable Agriculture Experts Visit SAEES
Three representatives of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH recently visited the School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences (SAEES) at UKZN to deliver training on sustainable agriculture to staff and postgraduate students.
GIZ is a German-based company specialising in international development, and provides global services in the field of international co-operation for sustainable development.
The company’s Ms Friederike Kraemer, Dr Alberto Camacho and Ms Sarah Beerhalter visited UKZN to deliver a Modules on Sustainable Agriculture (MOSA) course, which promotes farming systems that benefit producers, consumers and the environment.
According to Kraemer, the training builds regional capacity and enables the exponential spread of knowledge of sustainable agriculture techniques. Content covered in the training includes sustainable agricultural development, maintenance of soil fertility, biodiversity, labour, sanitation, plant protection, rural livelihoods, water management, animal husbandry, energy, and climatic change.
Participants worked in groups to exchange experiences and ideas and develop collaborative training material through participatory techniques. The groups presented work to each other and the GIZ trainers, using the material they were given to formulate training modules.
The ideal outcome of this kind of training is that GIZ trainers will work alongside trainees until they can work independently of GIZ to deliver the MOSA.
The visit included field trips to Ixopo and Umzimkulu, where the team had the opportunity to transfer the knowledge gained, viewing the farms they visited through the lenses of sustainable agriculture.
The interaction between GIZ and UKZN was initiated through Professor Heinz Beckedahl of the Discipline of Geography and Kraemer expressed GIZ’s appreciation towards him for his facilitation of the visit. The organisation has been linked with Beckedahl’s work through the World Overview of Conservation Approaches and Technologies (WOCAT).
The networks of both the GIZ team and the trainees were also expanded as a result of the workshop, paving the way for future partnerships and research collaborations.