Sharing knowledge in Zimbabwe
The Salvation Army trains farmers in best practices when rainfall is scarce.
Katamari Mary is a 50-year-old widow and mother of three children. She lives on the outskirts of Kadoma in Zimbabwe. Due to climate change, the chance of receiving enough rain is becoming increasingly rare, which means Katamari and farmers like her struggle to grow enough food for their families. That is why The Salvation Army has been working with the community to find ways to overcome the problems of infrequent rainfall.
Katamari received training in conservation agriculture, and has applied her learning to her land to improve her farming. She learned how to increase her crop yields using minimal rainfall and to conserve the soil to increase production, as well as overall expanding her knowledge of agricultural practices.
Before her education in conservation agriculture techniques, Katamari wasn’t making the best use of her land.
“I used to clear and burn all the weeds and maize stock after harvesting,” she said. “I would not plant my seeds using any standard measurements or time my planting seasons.” This meant that the nutrients in the soil were being depleted over time, with exposure to the sun drying them out.
Katamari has seen positive results since applying her training.
“I now plant three seeds in one hole and use standard line measurements when planting,” she said. “I also wean the unhealthy maize plants and add mulching, which helps conserve the little soil moisture. I now know when to best plant my seeds–just before the rain season starts.”
Katamari isn’t keeping this new knowledge all to herself; she has trained four of her neighbors so they, too, can reap the benefits.
This project started by just training 29 farmers in simple agriculture techniques. Thanks to each of them passing their knowledge on to others, over 500 people in this area have now improved their farming knowledge and increased their yields.
By doing so they are able to produce a surplus that can they sell in order to pay for school and medical fees for their family.
Read more about The Salvation Army’s Enriching Lives program here.