The Sustainable Agriculture and Natural Resource Management Collaborative Research Support Program (SANREM CRSP) is a 5-year research, training, and information exchange program funded by the United States Agency for International Development (US AID). Farmers and scientists around the world work together in all phases of research in order to develop environmentally sound and economically viable agricultural practices which, in turn, will help preserve the world's natural resources.
Cape Verde has a history of famines with tragic death tolls caused by frequent crop failures. Presently this condition is being eased by extensive food aid and other international intervention. Our program was contacted in 1993 by the US AID mission in Praia in hopes of nurturing a more sustainable in-country program. We are presently working in partnership with the Cape Verde Watershed Applied Research and Development Project (WARD) and the residents of the Agua de Gato watershed.
The Agua de Gato watershed is located in the south central part of the island of Santiago, 18 km from the capital city of Praia, and comprises 350 hectares. It is home to 177 families (957 residents) making their livelihood through subsistence agriculture in the cultivation of maize, beans, peanuts, vegetables, fruit, and small-scale raising of livestock such as goats, chickens, pigs, and donkeys.
At present, our program has completed a community-led assessment to seek out farmers' ideas and concerns about the economic and environmental conditions of their watershed. This enabled the residents of Agua de Gato to articulate the constraints which limit their livelihood, and the strategies and solutions they would like to initiate to better manage their resources. A research plan directing the course of the SANREM/Cape Verde project, has been gleaned from these community discussions.
Working closely with these residents and Cape Verde institutions, such as INIDA (the principal Cape Verde institute for research), Animaçao Rural (agricultural extension), governmental agricultural agencies, and the local Farmer's Association, the SANREM CRSP is now assisting in the development of work plans which will address the farmers' concerns for improving their lives and will involve farmers as equal partners in the research process.
Also in an effort to enrich our host country's resources, we have sponsored four Cape Verde graduate exchange students to study in U.S. institutions. And we have initiated a CV-US elementary school partnership in which classes of students in both countries correspond to learn about each other's lives and worlds.
Our most recent newsletter, SANREM LAST Update Volume 3, Number 1, featured an in-depth report on our Cape Verde program. If you would like more information about our program please contact us at SANREM@gold.griffin.peachnet.edu. Our WWW homepage will be on-line in early September.
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