Zambia, Africa

ZAM28 - Kitchen garden training and micro-enterprise loan programmes: Partnership Reports

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Report Date: December 28, 2009

2009 End of Year Report from Jerry & Hayley Field


Recent events

'Farming Gods Way' Training

We attended this course in September. It was great to see people who think along the same lines as we do, and we were able to learn a lot about mindsets and also growing techniques for Africa. The main points were to do everything: 
- On Time 
- At Standard 
- No Waste 
- With Joy

Many Zambian small scale farmers are doing none of these things, and are suffering as a result. They do not plant on time and they are not using what they do have well. There is a big need for manure and lime in the techniques, which can be an issue for the village farmers. Also mulching was a technique that is very important rather than making ridges.


Maplehurst garden

Demonstration Garden at Maplehurst

The aim of this garden is both to demonstrate to others and also to learn ourselves how people can grow their own food. One of our thoughts is to get people growing small amounts of vegetables and crops in the dry season that will make enough profit to fund the main crops grown in the wet season.

We have set up two wet season cropping areas, measuring 35x20 metres. One will grow maize and the other soya beans. This is for crop rotation. 

During the dry season we planted green maize, broccoli, butternut, green peppers and onions. We had some issues with insects and soil fertlility but we made a small profit and were able to save an amount that covers the costs of the main wet season crops.

Fruit Trees
We have 10 banana plants that are growing well with suckers appearing after three months in the ground. Our aim is to increase the number by using suckers to 20 plants next year.

We are trying to re-establish a couple of citrus trees that were already here and have purchased two more orange trees.

9 feet tall

Other Trees
Moringa trees for stock feed (chickens); only 4 out of the 10 we planted survived but they are very fast growing and provide a lot of nutrients for the animals in stock feed. 

Musunga trees (fertiliser tree); we have planted 24 in the demo cropping area and they are growing well so far. These are meant to provide the equivalent of 300kg of nitrogen and 200kg of lime when they reach 3 to 5 years of age. We purchased them from the Zambian Government research station and will try to purchase more to distribute to partnerships.  They are low cost, only 10,000zmk for about 500 seeds with plastic bags and information.

Aloe Vera; we planted 5 plants and they are growing well. We use this to put in the chicken's water to protect them from parasites.

Cumphrey herb; used in chicken feed.


Hand raising chickens


We have focused on a village chicken project, mainly based on Isaiah Chalwe’s instructions. We built a small chicken run and a brooder house. The idea is to have the hens hatch the eggs and take them away on the first day. The hen should then start laying within a week to 10 days rather than up to 6 weeks if she mothers her chicks.

We have three hens and one cock and currently have our first batch of chicks from two hens in the brooder. The other hen will hatch eggs around 30 December. We are keeping a close eye on feed costs as this will be the telling point to see if this actually works.


Preparing ground

Other Demo Gardens

Kamatipa (ZAM10a)

Jeremiah came to the Farming Gods Way training with us. “We are expecting God to bless us both spiritually and physically”. We gave Jeremiah the funds to set up one lima (50x50m) of maize and one lima of soya.

Six weeks after the training, on the 7th November, I visited him for two days. He had the land cleared and had purchased some of the inputs but due to five funerals had not prepared any land for planting. This was disappointing, especially because in the training it was taught that Africans are giving too much respect to the dead and forgetting about the living. “Honor the dead by living well”.

He had also decided to do two limas of maize which we did not feel was a good idea as he was already well behind in land preparation to be ready for planting at the optimum time of 15th November (if they had good rains).

We highlighted the fact that manure is an issue for people in the villages. Jeremiah has managed to get 6 bags of manure but we worked out that for one lima you need 25 bags. Compost is much better as you use a third of the manure so we will need to train and demonstrate making compost in detail.

It was encouraging to see that others involved in the partnership and the orphans came out to help us for the two days in getting the field ready. Overall I think this highlighted to us some of the issues we will face and how its not so much the farming technique but the mindset that is keeping our friends in poverty.


Positive response

Samfya Bible School (ZAM18a)

After discussions with Bible school staff we planted out a block 25x25 metres, half maize and half soya. We had about 10 people turn up to help so it became a training exercise as well. There were very good responses from the people.

One issue here is lime availability as there is no lime in the province.

Unfortunately, we have since heard that the field has been attacked by maize stalk borer which surprised all of us since it was virgin land. They are spraying for the pest but the crop will not be as hoped.


Plans for 2010

Our aim is to run five training courses in 2010 at Maplehurst farm (one may be in Chipata). We will invite around 8 to 10 people for a one week course. The timing for the courses will be one per month from February to June. We are currently putting together the material for the course and hope to have the first draft complete by the end of January.

When the training is completed we will discuss with the trainees about micro finance. It will be on the basis of us visiting them in September and October to see if they have been faithful and prepared the land by clearing it, weeding it, applying mulch and digging the pot holes. If they have then we would aim to fund as a loan for 1 lima of maize and 1 lima of a legume (soya, ground nuts etc).

Our hope is that these first approximately 40 trainees will in time become demonstrators and trainers in their partnerships and communities, and then also be able to set up and run micro finance in the partnerships. We have been in discussions with various partnerships to try and find the right people to come for training, people who are hard working, have a heart for other people, and who show some initiative.

We have also been talking with GLO (ZAM19a) and Samfya Bible School (ZAM18a) about coming to do some training with the students.  At GLO we want to set up a demonstration block but we need to find the right person to work with there.

It is our hope that in 2011 we will be able to start funding more people with micro finance through these loan officer demonstration trainer people. It seems to us that there needs to be a lot of time and effort spent in the training up front before any micro finance is given, otherwise results of the finance will be affected.