With the autumn sun in the sky, we donned our wellies and began our short journey to Offaly for The National Ploughing Championships from September 20th – 22nd.
The Ploughing is Europe's largest Outdoor Exhibition and Agricultural Trade Show with more than 280,000 visitors at the event. We created an African Farm on site to give people a taste of Africa and introduce them to the farming methods used, the crops they grow and the animals they keep.
Our farm demonstrated why smallholder farmers, including those working the land in Sub-Saharan Africa, are critical for the future of our planet.
Farming in Africa
Small-scale African farmers are amongst the most important people in existence today. All of these farmers are working on less than two hectares of land and are currently producing food for approximately 2.5 billion people, or one third of humanity.
The dependence is even higher in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia, where small farms produce about 80% of all food consumed. And because of our rapidly expanding population, these same farmers will have to produce a whopping 70% more food by 2050 than they were producing just 10 years ago.
One of the most fascinating parts of our African Farm was the tools section. Farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa today use similar farming tools, practice many of the same methods and face many of the same challenges that Irish farmers did 170 years ago. However, while Irish farming has moved on, across Sub-Saharan Africa things have remained static.
What is GOAL doing?
GOAL is helping some of the world’s poorest communities to grow more food, improve access to seeds and inputs and sell more produce at better prices. Working with approximately 200,000 farmers across our countries we promote technology that helps farmers get access to market information and improve yields, provide training and create opportunities for farmers to engage successfully with markets.
As part of our African Farm, GOAL ambassador Rachel Allen provided a recipe for chilli and sweet potato soup which The Fresh Soup Company supplied. The soup was made using some of the crops that we are promoting amongst farmers with whom we work in Africa.
It is important that we work with African farmers to increase their production and incomes in a sustainable way.