Review of the first- year course
Introduction to the second- year course
Agriculture is the trade of men and women who farm the land and raise livestock.
The farmer's trade is a difficult one; it is a trade that demands a great deal of work.
It is a trade which has to be learned, becaused nowadays there are many new techniques
Agricultural extension workers and agricultural assistants explain these new techniques to farmers.
With the help of the Better Farming courses you can also gain a better knowledge of farming.
The farmer's trade is the most important trade for many African countries.
It is the farmers who feed all a country's people.
Agriculture is the chief wealth of most African countries.
Cotton is the chief resource of Chad;
Groundnuts are the chief resource of Senegal;
Cocoa is the chief resource of Cameroon;
Coffee is the chief resource of Ivory Coast.
In almost all African countries the products sold to foreign countries are agricultural products.
You have just finished the first- year course.
You learned first about plants and their different parts:
· the root has a very important
part to play (see Booklet No. 1 ):
· it holds the plant to the soil;
· above all, it takes from the soil the plant's food - mineral salts. If roots did not exist, plants could not feed themselves. They wouId die.
· the stem (see Booklet No. 2):
· it carries the branches, leaves, flowers and fruits;
· it moves the raw sap from the root to the leaves.
· the leaves (see Booklet No. 2):
The action of the leaves is chiefly to change the raw sap into elaborated sap. The raw sap is the mineral salts and water which the roots have taken from the soil. The raw sap cannot be used directly to feed the plant. The raw sap has to be changed. It is the leaves which change the raw sap into elaborated sap.
This is known as vegetable synthesis.
The elaborated sap can feed the plant directly.
· the flowers (see Booklet No. 31:
The job of the flowers is to produce fruits.
· the fruits (see Booklet No. 31:
Usually we grow plants to harvest their fruits, such as: the grains of millet, sorghum, maize, the berries of coffee, the pods of cocoa, the fruits of oil palms and coconut palms, bananas, pineapples, mangoes, papaws.
After that you learned about the soil.
· How is the soil made up? (see Booklet No. 4)
The soil is a mixture of sand, clay and silt.
Good soil contains humus. Humus makes many soils much better, it helps air and water to circulate better, and makes the soil richer.
· The soil must be conserved (see Booklet No. 5) by protecting the soil against flowing water (erosion by water) against wind (erosion by wind), and against sun that is too hot.
To do this on sloping fields, the ploughing should be along contour lines, and the soil should be covered.
· Soil fertility must be improved (see Booklet No. 6) by applying manure and compost, by growing green manuring crops, by the use of fertilizers.
Besides that, water can be brought in (irrigation) if the ground is too dry; and water can be taken away (drainage) if the ground is too wet.
· The soil must be well worked so as to produce more (see Booklet No. 7).
All the jobs on the land must be well done, and they must be done at the right time.
Then you learned about animals.
If you want to have many fine animals, you must:
· feed them well (see Booklet No: 8):
If the animals do not get enough to eat, they do not grow, they do not gain weight. They produce little milk. They will yield little meat when they are slaughtered.
· house them well (see Booklet No 8):
Animals need a shelter in which to sleep and rest protected from rain and sun.
· protect them against diseases (see Booklet No. 9): wounds must be treated, parasites must be removed from animals, animals must be vaccinated
· make good animals breed (see Booklet No. 9):
If you choose males of good quality and females of good quality, you will have young ones of good quality.
Selective breeding will quickly improve your herd.
What are the Better Farming courses for?
With the Better Farming courses you will learn more about agriculture. They teach farmers what they must do to get better crops and to raise better animals.
For extension workers, agricultural assistants and community leaders the Better Farming courses provide a refresher course on what they learned in their training.
Many students write to ask: "What are Better Farming courses for? Could I get a job as an extension worker or agricultural assistant? Could I get a government job with your certificate?"
We always reply: the aim of the Better Farming courses is not to give you a government job.
In every country there are examinations for government jobs.
But our purpose is not to get people into government service.
Our aim is to give a better knowledge of their trade to farmers, agricultural extension workers and agricultural assistants.
I know that the Better Farming courses are not recognized by the government and administration of my country as an official certificate.
Doing a Better Farming course will not help me to get a government job. That is not its purpose.
I do the course simply in order to learn my job better.
If I'm a farmer, or working with my father or uncle, I shall learn how to farm well. I shall use modern methods, I shall get good yields and I shall earn more money.
So I shall have extra money to feed my family well, make a better house, and improve the village along with the other farmers
If I am an extension worker or an agricultural assistant I shall learn how to give simple advice to farmers. I shall become a good community leader and be useful to the farmers and to my country.
During the first year we studied: plants, the soil and the tools for working the soil, animals.
A farmer uses plants, the earth, tools and animals to produce.
The farmer and those who work with him, the plants, the earth, the tools, and the animals, are all part of a whole which is called the farm business.
Each farmer in savanna country, each planter in forest country, uses different means to produce and to earn money.
These means are:
· his labour and the labour of
those with him,
· Iand - his fields or his plantations,
All that (the labour, animals, land, plants, tools) are the means of production of the farm business.
The farmer uses all these means of production to produce:
· vegetable products, such as millet, maize, yams, cassava, coffee, cocoa, oil palm fruits, cotton, groundnuts, okra, pimentoes, tomatoes, beans.
· animal products, such as beef, mutton, milk, butter, eggs.
In the second- year course there are nine booklets to study, and nine question papers to answer.
· Two booklets are obligatory, and should be studied by everyone. These are the first, on the farm business, and the last, on modern farming.
· The other seven booklets are optional.
Each student should choose out of the booklets prepared seven booklets on crops and animal husbandry.
He must choose at least two booklets on animal husbandry.
There are now four booklets on animal husbandry:
· Cattle breeding
· Sheep and goat breeding
· Keeping chickens
· Farming with animal power.
There are now 11 booklets on crops:
· Wet paddy or swamp rice
· Upland rice
· Cereals (millet, maize sorghum)
· Roots and tubers (cassava, yams, sweet potatoes, tania, taro)
· Market gardening
· The oil palm
· The rubber tree
If a student chooses two booklets on animal husbandry, he has to choose five booklets on crops. If a student chooses three booklets on animal husbandry, he has to choose four booklets on crops. If a student chooses four booklets on animal husbandry, he has to choose three booklets on crops.
Mamadou is a farmer in savanna country; he has cattle and sheep; he uses animal power for tilling. Mamadou chooses: three booklets on animal husbandry: cattle, sheep and goats, farming with animal power; four booklets on crops: cereals, roots and tubers, groundnuts, market gardening.