First maize of the year

Last month, I blogged a few photos of maize gardens our farmers planted ahead of the rains. The time has come.

Earlier this month, farmers at Mziza began harvesting maize from the river banks. As we had hoped, this maize arrives in time to stave off hunger during the leanest months of the year. It's hard for us to image just what it means to a farmer's family to harvest at this time. But if they can go through these months without skipping a meal, they have achieved something great in their lives. It is the first step in assuring food security and good nutrition to this community throughout 2014.

Even farmers who didn't plant early will benefit from this harvest. Maize prices have dropped by 40% in the last month, down to US$0.11 per pound from a peak of US$0.18. This means that you will get almost 65% more maize for your buck this month. If for example, a farmer sells a chicken for US$4.00, he can now buy 36 pounds of maize, rather than just 22 pounds. A difference of 14 pounds means an extra 1-2 days of food for a family.