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 rainfall is becoming increasingly rare. This means Katamari and farmers like her struggle to grow enough food to provide for their families. That is why The Salvation Army has been working with the community to try to find ways to overcome the problems of infrequent rainfall.
Katamari has been trained in conservation agriculture, and has applied her learning on her land to improve her farming. She has learned how to increase her crop yields using minimal rainfall, conserve the soil to increase production and increase her knowledge of agricultural practices.
Before Katamari received training on using conservation agriculture techniques, she wasn’t making the best use of her land. She said: ‘I used to clear and burn all the weeds and maize stock after harvesting. 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 and became more exposed to being dried out by the sun.
When Katamari spoke to us after her training, she smiled at the strides she has been able to make. She told us: ‘I now plant three seeds in one hole and use standard line measurements when planting. 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.’
But Katamari isn’t keeping this new knowledge all to herself; she has now trained four of her neighbours on what she has learnt so they can reap the benefits too.
This project started by just training 29 farmers in simple agriculture techniques. Thanks to each of them passing on their knowledge to others, over 500 people in this area have now improved their farming knowledge and improved their yields.
By doing so this can help them to produce a surplus which can they sell in order to pay for school and medical fees for their family.
You can enrich the lives of farmers like Katamari by supporting the Enriching Lives Helping-Hand Appeal.
Through the Appeal, members of Salvation Army Adult and Family Ministries groups across the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland are fundraising to support farmers like Katamari to make the best use of their land.
To find out more about the Appeal and how your corps/ group can support, click here.