The training sessions demonstrate good agricultural practices to cotton farmers in simple and easily comprehensible ways, for example through the five-finger principle:
Timely and Proper Field Preparation
As a first step, smallholder farmers learn that they need to prepare their fields at the right time and in a certain way. For example, fields should be prepared for the next season immediately after a cotton harvest. In addition, the same parcel of land cannot always be used for cotton. Crop rotation ensures that soil fertility is maintained, by planting different crops from one season to the next. In order to minimise the erosion of nutrient-rich soil caused by ploughing, the farmers are also taught how to work the soil only minimally post-harvest.
The sowing season starts when the regularly recurring rains begin. To optimise the use of their fields, lines are strung to mark the rows, helping farmers orientate themselves when planting.
Suitable Crop Populations
Optimal crop density is also important, which means farmers must avoid sowing too many or too few cotton seeds; otherwise, the fields may need to be thinned, or the planting may have to be supplemented.
In subsequent months on the planting calendar, weeds must be properly removed on a daily basis.
The last point addresses pest control and the proper application of permitted pesticides, when necessary, to protect the harvest from pests in an economic manner.