Zambia, Africa

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



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Report Date: November 15, 2010

Report from Jerry Field following visit to Chipata (ZAM07 and ZAM23)

 

We have visited the partners that were trained at Maplehurst Farm earlier in the year to assess if the people had been faithful by preparing the fields. Also to assess if they have trained others in their communities who may be eligible for a loan program.

We visited three areas where people had been trained, the forth area we tried to visit, but decided that the wise man built his house on the rock and the foolish man drove his van through the sand - a big sandy river bed was in the way!

 

heaps of compost
 

Recent events

Compost

Excellent compost had been made.  They had made it in pits as the chickens were spreading the compost too much. It was very pleasing to see that they had made plenty for the fields and most of them had compost left over.   The size of their field became the basis of the loan amount for each family.

Micro loans

In the Chipata area loans were given to 18 families totalling 2,400,000zmk ($521US).  Each faithful family received approx. 134,000 zmk loan for a lima of maize. We set up a loans booklet and discussed the loan conditions with the partnership leaders. We hope to increase the loans in this area next year as more people are trained and they see the yields others are getting.

Agricultural officers

Some agricultural officers had been training in some of the areas. Their techniques are still very good compared to the traditional methods, but it has caused some confusion in what to do. We encouraged people to try both methods if they were unsure and assess what is best by the results.

 

Partnership influence within the community

The impact could be huge on these communities. Currently the average yield for a subsistence Zambian farmer is about 1 tonne to the hectare of maize, and it has been shown that it should be as high as 8 to 10 tonnes per hectare.

The people were very encouraged to see us, and we met some people who biked to see us from the place that we couldn’t reach. They are very excited to be learning new ways of agriculture.

 

Ideas for the future

On our next visit here we want to visit a village called Chikelemu.  The Chifundo brothers are wanting to plant a church here but first they want to train people in agriculture as a way into the community. The area is very poor with poor soils that have been burnt and badly managed for a number of years. The yield one person got was 5kg from a lima of maize.

 

Current issues and challenges

1) There is some conflicting information being given by the government agricultural officers using the conservation farming techniques. Issues highlighted were:
• Depth of pot holes
• Use of lime
• Correct measurements in marking out field
• Using old ridge lines to make a pot hole in
• Use of correct tools for measuring

2) Some families that were trained have not done the work to be eligible for a loan. This is good in many ways that the leadership doesn’t want to give these people loans, but will be a challenge of jealousy.

 

Prayer and praise points

Praise for the way the leaders in Chifundo have taken to using the new knowledge within their own communities. They trained 30 families in the new farming techniques, focusing on maize growing. Even in some areas that are far away, 62km where they want to plant a church they have started with training in agriculture.

Also praise for the way the leaders have created a demand for lime in the Chipata area. When they came back home from the training in April, they visited all the agricultural shops to find lime, and none was available. Due to them keeping on pressure now there are shops that have lime in Chipata.