Reunion Island students support sugarcane farmers in KwaZulu-Natal [fr]

From 26 March to 12 April 2015, students from Saint-Paul Agricultural College of Reunion Island pursued a project with small scale sugarcane growers, in cooperation with the Canegrowers’ Association and the Cedara Agricultural College of KwaZulu Natal.

Exchange of knowledge with local small scale sugarcane growers

For the second consecutive year, the Canegrowers’ Association hosted Saint-Paul’s students in its agronomic services to diagnose the small scale sugarcane farming development in the Amatikulu Mill supply area. The 2015 project was funded by the EU and the Regional Council of La Reunion, with the aim of linking vocational training and agricultural research to develop sustainable smallholder agriculture.

During their 2-weeks exchange period, 19 students from Saint-Paul studied the agrarian system of the Eshowe area. Supported by six students and two teachers from the Cedara Agricultural College, they carried out more than 40 surveys of small scale local sugarcane farmers. The focal tasks of this mission was to identify the key agronomic issues and social, human or financial constraints, in order to build up a consistent analysis in view of sustainable development.

Beyond the agricultural research interests, the experience enabled students and farmers to enrich their personal development through cultural and linguistic exchanges. Encouraged by this success, the project will be renewed next year, with a new sugar mill supply area suggested to Saint Paul and Cedara by Canegrowers.

Background on the cooperation:

- From 2009 to 2012, the South African Sugarcane Research Institute (Sasri) cooperated with the Saint-Paul Agricultural College, enabling final-year students to support zulu small scale sugarcane farmers.

- In 2012, the South African Canegrowers’ Association (SA Canegrowers), which represents the interests of the country’s 26 500 private sugarcane farmers, entered into a five-year MoU with Saint-Paul Agricultural College.

- In October 2013, the Southern Africa and Islands of South West Indian Ocean Professional Agricultural Colleges (REAP AAOI) was created. Funded by the European Union and the Regional Council of La Reunion, the programme allowed 20 vocational colleges - of which the Saint-Paul and Cedara Agricultural Colleges - to sign a framework agreement on the development of educational projects.

- For further information, please contact Didier RAMAY, teacher at Saint-Paul Agricultural College: didier.ramay@univ-reunion.fr

publie le 01/05/2015

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