The rains came late this year but they were plentiful. The grounds have just started to dry and farmers are gearing up to learn about dry season farming. Africa Windmill Project is preparing to launch 12 new agriculture clubs which will educate 360 farmers. We have a 4 year program, but food security is often established after the first growing season. One of the keys to Africa Windmill Projects success is partnership with the farmers. For the first year the farmer provides all of the labor and tools, AWP provides a "starter kit" of fertilizer, maize seed, pesticide and irrigation pumps, the second year the farmer provides 50% of the fertilizer, pesticide and AWP provides maize seed. After these first two years of input provisions the farmer is able to sustain their own gardens by reinvesting from the previous crop. AWP continues to train the farmers by meeting with them regularly in years three and four.
In August we surprised some of the original agriculture club members from Mziza that we worked with in 2011 to see if they had continued their gardens and if indeed food security had been achieved. We were delighted and humbled to see the impact that education and empowerment has had in this community. You can read a story about what we found by clicking here.
So if you are still reading THANK YOU! We haven't put in fancy pictures or catchy formatting. We really just want you to understand the impact that YOUR partnership makes to Africa Windmill Project. We are busting at the seams with farmers who are asking for our help, currently there are over 3,000 farmers that are actively in our 4 year program.
We wanted to share two stories about the impact that these trainings have, and to ask you for your help. It costs AWP just under $200 per farmer the first year. Would you consider partnering with us toward these trainings and first year inputs?
Keep Reading to see what YOUR Partnership Means to Farmers.
Our amazing staff sends us these stories, they do an outstanding job of understanding and communicating in English. As you read, imagine you are sitting down with one of our staff and they are sharing with you a story about their day.
Ripple Effects of AWP’s Starter Packs – The Story of Mr. Chasowa Sandisi
Chasowa Sandisi is a farmer in Chigonthi Extension Planning Area and a member of Chimwemwe club of Nkhota village. He joined Chimwemwe club which was initiated by Africa Windmill Project last year in 2017.
Before joining the club to work with Africa Windmill Project, Mr. Sandisi was growing maize on his plot which is 0.5 acre but he could only get less than MK 10,000.00 ($13.88 USD) from the sales of the crops. This was because he planted maize seed that he got from his friends and some which he kept as seed from the previous rain seasons. The problem with that seed was that it had lost its vigor. He could also not afford fertilizer which made yield from his garden to be very low.
This year, Mr. Sandisi was among the famers that received inputs (1kg of maize seed and 5kg of NPK basal dressing fertilizer) from Africa windmill Project. Before receiving the inputs, Mr. Sandisi together with other members of Chimwemwe club attended a number of trainings offered by Africa Windmill Project. The trainings included: Agriculture business training, leadership training, vegetable management training and Irrigation Water management training.
From the inputs that Mr. Sandisi received, he is expecting to get a net profit of MK 140,000.00 ($194.44 USD) when he sells the fresh maize that he has produced in his garden. This means that he is going to make 14 times the amount of money he was getting when he was farming before being trained by Africa Windmill Project.
The money realized will serve as capital and Mr. Sandisi will be able to afford his own seed and fertilizer to re-invest into irrigation farming in the next growing season.
AWP Starter Packs Build Confidence and Trust - The Story of Yohane
Yohane is one example of the majority of farmers who joined Africa Windmill Project irrigation farming at the point when he did not have confidence and trust in the crop the project was emphasizing on due to the past experiences. Maize is commonly grown under irrigation however, the results of the traditional way of irrigation farming (watering cans or buckets) over the years have been very discouraging to most farmers when they compared the time and resources invested into the work against the results they got after the season. Such being a common experience among farmers it has been generally not easy for farmers that have just joined Africa Windmill Project in a new area to comfortably invest their resources into something they do not trust even when they have enough to do so. When our farmers begin trainings with us we understand what they have faced and we know we need to build their confidence in the "similar" crop this requires wisdom and tact or the technology will not be adopted.
Irrigation farming is Africa Windmill Project main area of focus. Teaching farmers how to grow food and empowering farmers economically once and for all. To achieve this Scientific information is communicated in local terms that can be easily understood by farmers for a better crop production. Lessons learned in a class setup are put in to practice in individual gardens to demonstrate the usefulness and the reliability of the information taught. In his first year Yohane was ready to attend education trainings taught in a class setup but still could not trust the results. As a result, Africa Windmill Project gave Yohane one kilogram starter park seed and five kilograms’ basal fertilizer. He also contributed five kilograms’ top dressing fertilizer and pesticides. Following best agriculture practices his crop looked nice from the beginning so he began to have confidence in the Maize and in his trainings.
Yohane did not only see a promising crop but also learned that knowledge is power. He realized that the long past experience of poor irrigation yields was as a result of the knowledge gap that has long existed between farmers and responsible agriculture officers. Africa Windmill Project has merged the gap and now Yohane has no choice but to save money to buy more inputs that he will use in the next season.
When he was asked why he thinks saving for more inputs next season was important, his response was “Without Vision People Perish”. From the inputs that were donated to him, his eyes are now opened. He has never before had a good and promising crop as this year. As a result, he feels he does not need to wait for someone to tell him what to do, he is more than ready to invest all his money in maize irrigation farming. His final words were thanks to Africa Windmill Project for giving him a life time opportunity that he has been neglecting in the past and did not know he was missing a lot, may God bless Africa Windmill Project.
Thanks so much for Partnering with us!