I just came across FAO’s Crop Calendar. It is tre cool. You may be asking what it exactly is. It is an incredible tool that I wish I would have had when I worked in the Millennium Villages to help inform me along with the agriculture extension workers how and when to plant different crops, lets say for a homegarden, so that it is producing year round.
FAO says: “The crop calendar provides information about sowing and planting seasons and agronomic practices of the crops grown by farmers in a particular agro-ecological zone. It is a tool developed to assist farmers, extension workers, civil society and the private sector to be able to access and make available quality seeds of specific crop varieties for a particular agro-ecological zone at the appropriate sowing/planting season. It can be used by development-aid workers in the planning and implementation of seed relief and rehabilitation activities following natural or human-led disasters. Furthermore, the Crop Calendar can serve as a quick reference tool in selecting crop varieties to adapt to changing weather patterns accelerated by climate change.”
They have roughly 130 crops from 283 agro-ecological zones. I didn’t even realize that there were that many zones in the world…and in case you didn’t know, an agro ecological zone encompasses the information on climate (including radiation, rainfall, temperature, and humidity) for the particular purpose of assessing the production potential of land for different types of (rainfed) agriculture.
So back to the crop calendar. You can select by “COUNTRY” or by “CROP”. From there, you can go to it. I will do an example here. I want to see when I should plant sweet potatoes in the Southwestern Highlands of Uganda. I first select Uganda.
From there, I select the agro ecological zone, in this case the Southwestern Highlands, and the crop, in this case, sweet potato. You can also select a while group of foods, or the scientific names of crops.
Then click “view” to get the calendar for the best times to plant the sweet potato and the best time to harvest. This is what the calendar looks like:
So the best time to plant sweet potato is in mid april and the earliest you can start harvesting is August. If you click on the green planting bar, you get even more detailed information such as this:
The important thing about this from a nutrition perspective, is that you can stagger crop planting and harvesting to ensure that farmers and their families get adequate food and QUALITY food year round, depending on what they grow and when.