CHOICE helps rural farmers become more self-reliant by teaching them to incorporate science-based agricultural practices in their farms.
Crop production focuses on plants that are grown in large quantities. Some of these crops are destined for the local market. By diversifying crops, farmers can increase the variety of their family’s diet and their financial return by selling more items in the local markets. The local farmer’s crops will be harvested and marketed at different times throughout the year to avoid flooding the market and driving the price down. CHOICE also helps farmers maximize production of crops that enter the supply chain for the global market. Some of these crops are cacao, cardamom, banana, spikenard, and wintergreen.
Crops are selected based on geography and terrain, food preferences and markets, and climate factors such as seasonal variation in temperature and rainfall. Other factors to consider include the quality of soils (nutrient status, salinity, density, water-holding capacity} as well as the availability of irrigation and access to markets through transportation.
Modern practices to incorporate include selecting quality seeds, rotating crops, and the safe use of pesticides. Farmers learn how to use fertilizers such as green manure (incorporating green plants back into the soil); compost made up of kitchen and garden/crop waste; and appropriate use of animal manure. In addition, farmers learn about post-harvest storage of their crops and the value of keeping some of their harvest for home consumption to improve family nutrition.