With increasing dry-spells and irregular rainfall patterns, as a result of climate change, coupled with rapid increase in bio-waste generation, there is the need for finding more innovative, efficient and conservative farming methods and technologies to properly manage water and nutrient resources while protecting the environment. As part of research under RECIRCULATE WP3, CSIR Water Research Institute (WRI) are researching an innovative irrigation technology, Partial Rootzone Drying (PRD), and anaerobic digestion of bio-waste to produce a bio-based fertilizer (digestate) with many environmental and agricultural benefits.
Proper implementation will be difficult before farmers, agricultural officers and other stakeholders fully understand the irrigation technology, nutrients resources and policies. It was in view of this that the Knowledge Exchange Workshop for 20 farmers, 6 agricultural officers, 14 WRI/IIR staff and 6 media organizations was therefore held on 16th of December, 2020 to educate the participants on the irrigation technology (PRD) and bio-based fertilizer (digestate) usage.
The workshop involved two sessions: field demonstration and conference room presentation. Each session of the workshop had specific learning outcomes for knowledge, understanding and skill. The practical demonstration was made on the field to provide understanding and insights into concepts and principles of PRD and digestate.
The workshop used a participatory approach by engaging the stakeholders and participants in interactions and discussions where they had the chance to ask questions based on demonstrations made by the facilitators. The farmers showed an interest in the digestate, so Bright Laboan guided and informed them on how they can acquire digestate for their crops.
The event was then followed by PowerPoint presentations at the conference room. The PRD vs Continuous Flood Irrigation (CFI) designs and the science behind it was presented by Dr Emmanuel Bekoe. The science of digestate as well as yield data from previous trials were then presented by Bright Laboan. The final presentation was made by Gilbert Osei on different nitrogen sources on the growth and yields of tomatoes.