Farmer uses FFS techniques to improve farm

An exchange group visits Ralaiza's farm

Joseph Razafimahatradraibe, known as “Ralaiza,” is a family man in his 50s. He has been a member of the SALOHI Farmer Field School (FFS) in Mandritsara Andina since it began.
Ralaiza had always questioned the feasibility of cultivating the part of his property that was on a hill. However, in FFS, Ralaiza learned about terrace farming, a technique for cultivating sloped land.
FFS is a SALOHI program where farmers learn and practice new agricultural techniques in a lead farmer’s field.
When Ralaiza expanded his fields, he decided to use the techniques he learned in FFS to cultivate his sloped land. The area where Ralaiza lives is known for oranges. Farmers were already using terrace farming, but only with fruit trees. Ralaiza wanted something innovative for his hill. In addition to his long-term investment in orange trees, Ralaiza chose to grow peanuts, which add nutrients to the soil.
Ralaiza’s success has become a great inspiration to others. Neighbors and farmers passing through town come to visit Ralaiza’s field and many other farmers are now following his example.
Using terrace farming, farmers can maximize production by using previously uncultivated land. This also helps the environment because the hillside crops prevent erosion and take some of the production burden away from the lowlands.

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