Trained Years Ago, Still Seeing Results

Recent follow-up visits in West Africa, as rainy season ended and harvests are ready, reveal the hope two families have found — and now regularly share with others.

Meet Pastor Elie

Pastor Elie with some of his corn harvest.

Trained in 2016, Pastor Elie’s enthusiasm for ECHO techniques has paid off. It is with emotion that he shared his testimony with us: “When I first attended the training, I felt like a huge need had just been met. So, I wanted to know more by attending the ECHO forum which was held a few months later in September 2016 in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.” Back from the forum, Pastor Elie began to make compost and liquid fertilizer that he would apply in his fields during the next rainy season.

The first year, he achieved incredible results. On an area of 1.5 hectares, he harvests 30 bags of 100 kilograms of maize, or 1 ton per hectare. Before training, on the same area, he could only harvest 15 bags of 100 kilograms at most. Describing his improved production, Pastor Elie said, “In 42 years of ministry during which I have always practiced agriculture to provide for the needs of the family, I finally had the hope of seeing our living conditions change.” 

Pastor Elie also used these biofertilizers for the production of rice and market garden products. He said that the results have been remarkable. Those who bought his market garden produce came back to ask for more.

The unique attributes of his field attract the curious to whom the pastor gladly gives explanations of the techniques he applies. He continues to train others, mainly in the manufacture of compost and liquid fertilizer. He told us that these training times were also an opportunity for him to share the gospel.

Pastor Elie also put into practice the animal husbandry techniques he learned from ECHO. He now makes his own livestock and poultry feed for his animals. Today he has about 30 hens, 20 goats and sheep, and 10 oxen. He also started breeding quails, which are in great demand at the market. He told us that he sells his animals regularly to support his family.

The impact of ECHO’s training is very visible in the life of Pastor Elie. With pride he said, “I am totally independent today. I buy very little meat at the market because I raise our animals myself. My family and I have food in quantity and in quality because for three years I have not had to buy grains at the market. In addition, the sale of my various products (rice, millet, corn, market garden vegetables) gives me a significant income. To transport my products, I was able to buy a motor tricycle and a small motor pump. My family’s life has completely changed thanks to ECHO’s techniques.“

Meet Joël Coulibaly

Joël is 60 years old, and is married with children. After receiving his first training in 2015, he did not put the learned techniques into practice. “I said to myself that this is just one more training that will not change anything in our conditions,” he explained.

Joël stands in front of his new brick house built with his increased income.

But, in 2016 he attended a retraining during a session organized within his church. The testimonies of those who received the training and had applied the knowledge convinced him of the benefits of the new techniques. Back home, Joël started making the compost and liquid fertilizer that he was going to use for market gardening. “Even today, I am delighted to have made this choice because it has completely changed my life,” he said.

Indeed, in 2017, after experimenting with these biofertilizers on two onion beds, Joël was particularly surprised to harvest a 220 pound bag. Before the training, on this same area, he could barely harvest 100 pounds despite the fact that he used the chemical fertilizer which was expensive. This feat encouraged him to increase his use of the new techniques and in 2019 he harvested 30 large bags from 22 onion beds, using only compost and liquid fertilizer. Satisfied with these results, Joël extended the use of biofertilizers to his corn and rice fields, as well as to his tomato beds.

“Every person who buys my onions and tomatoes once, always comes back for more,” he said. “My customers appreciate my products not only for the size of the fruit, but also because they say they can keep for at least a month, without spoiling.” With a broad smile he said, “Today, the amount I produce is still not enough to meet the strong demand of my customers.“

Apart from agriculture, Joël is also involved in animal husbandry. To date, he has six head of oxen and 10 goats. With the training he received at ECHO, he prepares his own feed. He makes the salt-lick he uses for his animals and sells some of them, which has become another source of income. 

His increased income has allowed Joël to save money for future goals. This year, Joël and his family used some of their savings to build a permanent house.

In addition, totally won over by ECHO’s techniques, Joël has already trained others in making homemade liquid fertilizer. “With the quality of our soils which are completely degraded, I believe that only these new techniques will help us achieve food selfsufficiency. For that, training must reach many more people... and I can be part of that,” Joël told us.


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Trained Years Ago, Still Seeing Results

Recent follow-up visits in West Africa, as rainy season ended and harvests are ready, reveal the hope two families have found — and now regularly share with others.