Josias has seen an important increase in his yields after following Conservation Agriculture (CA) principles for the first time in his life.
Local Partner Central Church of Africa Presbyterian, Zambia (CCAP) is promoting CA among farmers in this drought-prone region of the country. CA involves some basic principles like minimal soil disturbance, crop rotation, using mulch or straw to retain soil moisture, and improving soil fertility by applying manure. A couple of minimal-tillage techniques covered in recent CA training sessions are potholing (planting in compost-filled holes that will trap rainwater when the rains come) and a sort of shallow plowing called “ripping.”
Ripping with draft animals is an effective means of improving yields while conserving the energy of farmers and animals. Plowing deeper furrows can have better results when rain is plentiful, but ripping is more successful during drought, as the soil is only minimally disturbed and retains moisture better. It can be done right before rains begin and, if a seed planter is attached, can further reduce the labor required by separate plowing and planting operations.
Before CCAP’s intervention, a hand-held hoe was the only means Josias had of preparing his land, which limited how much he could prepare and sow. He was never able to raise enough money to buy certified seed from the local Agricultural Supplies providers, so he only planted whatever maize seed he could afford. He would usually not harvest enough for his family, let alone for sale, keeping them in an endless cycle of poverty.
After applying all the CA practices he’d learned, he harvested 124 x 110 lb. bags of white maize. Thirty bags were enough for his family’s needs, and from the sale of the remaining maize he bought two bulls and built a shop to supply his neighbors with necessities, helping them to avoid frequent trips to town.
Josias and his wife and family say CA and the support from CCAP staff has improved their harvests and moved them toward a better future in farming.
Zambia Lundazi Program
Led by Word Renew and Local Partner Central Church of Africa Presbyterian, Zambia (CCAP)