Chibanzi Irrigation

The Chibanzi Farming Club has new pump and reservoir to supply water to their food security garden. The nearly 1 acre will provide an excellent meeting and learning area in addition to maize, sweet potato, onions, and tomatoes, year round.

Blessings with club members and their kids, onion nursery in the foreground:

John Fry prepares a pipe to be bent by filling it with sand:

The pump was a major attraction on its first day:

Basin and furrow

We have begun demonstrating two types of irrigation at our garden...

First, we have basin irrigation. Water flows through a canal and basins (10'x3'x4") are opened, flooded in turn.

Second, we have furrow irrigation, in which we flood troughs between ridges. Potatoes are easily grown with this method.

(the blue pipe in the upper left of the above photo carries water down to a demo of two other methods of irrigation: sprinkler and drip. These methods are more costly to set up and maintain but are more efficient. Many farmers prefer these methods because they use less energy to apply water to crops. Pictures to come.)

A few more pictures:

Full tank:

Maize in basin irrigation (still growing on residual moisture):

Developing an Irrigation Site

Identify a nice site for an irrigated garden:

Bring supplies to the site: bricks, stones, sand, cement, tools, etc. This gentleman is breaking stones with an 8-lbs hammer:

Lay a circular slab:

Build the tank walls:

Plaster inside and out:

Install water pump:

Pump and tank complete, focus is shifted to water distribution and crop management:

Farm Budgeting and Planning

Achieving food security requires more than crop management and irrigation. Farm Budgeting and Planning is the foundation upon which all farm activities are based. Without a budget and a plan, a good harvest is not sufficient for security; a host of factors can prevent or destroy a good harvest, in the field or in storage.

Farmers need to schedule their farm activities to maintain a balanced diet year round. Staples are harvested at the end of the rainy season. But what if the yield is not enough? How much is enough anyway? And what about nutritious fresh vegetables, animal fats and proteins, and special foods for sudden illnesses?

Below are some pictures from a training we held to equip and encourage farmers to begin budgeting and planning.

Jafet (Mziza Farming Club chairman) leads a small group:

Men and women were separated for some parts of the training to encourage full participation:

Blessings Malamba leads the men's group: