A visibly excited Absalom Mwale assertively tours his 12 hectares maize field. Taking a close look at his maize stock, it is easy for one to see that it has been a very good farming season for Mwale, a father of three children. “This year’s farming season has been productive owing to very good field preparations and most importantly Conservation Farming (CF) methods,” explains Mwale.
The complete truth behind Mwale’s productive yield lies in his decision to take part in a Conservation Training Program. Two years ago, Mwale was among the lucky farmers from Ndubulula Zone, Rufunsa district to be trained in conservation farming through BCP’s Lower Zambezi REDD+ Project (LZRP), through a program that was funded by a generous VIGOR grant from USAID. He now continues to receive support through the USAID funded Community Forests Program (CFP), taking place in Rufunsa District.
“I am lucky to be among those trained in conservation farming. Conservation farming allows you to prepare your land early, there is less weeding required, it is cost effective as it requires minimum fertilizer,” observes Mwale.
This year’s farming season has seen Mwale dedicate another portion of his field towards conservation farming. “I have decided to increase a part of my maize field for conservation farming from one (1) hectare to two (2) hectares amounting to over 26000 basins. I have also set aside a one (1) hectare piece of land where I have planted groundnuts using the ripping type of CF,” adds Mwale.
Despite a poor rain season Mwale expects a very good yield. “This year’s rain season was not too good but I am positive we will have a bumper harvest because of CF. I have also planted groundnuts, cotton, sweet potatoes, okra and peanut peas.”
Apart from receiving training in conservation farming, Mwale is also a beneficiary of the Village Chicken Project (VCP). He has been trained in small-scale businesses and village chicken production.
Having received two (2) chickens, Mwale has seen this number remarkably increase to 25. “In future, I intend to use manure from the chicken for conservation farming. I have mostly been using fertilizer and goat manure.”