VIOLET MENGO, Pemba
COSWELL Hatuleke, a small-scale farmer of Cheelo village in Pemba district has become a role model for many farmers in this drought-prone part of Zambia.
His determination to excel in life has helped him transform his dreams into reality. He has set an example for others to follow.
Hatuleke and his wife Veisy Mukonka are proud that they started practising conservation agriculture at the time their agricultural production was at its lowest.
For the Hatulekes conservation farming is the kind of farming that people who want to be food secure must adopt.
Standing proudly on their two hectares farm, Mr Hatuleke says, “We used to harvest just between 30 and 50 of 50kg bags of maize because of poor rains, compounded by our infertile sandy soils. But since we started conservation farming, the yield is always between 230 and 250 bags of maize from the same area.”
According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), conservation farming is an approach to managing agro-ecosystems for improved and sustained productivity, which increases profits and food security, while preserving and enhancing the resource base and the environment.
Minimum land tillage, increased organic crop cover and crop rotation are some of the key principles of conservation agriculture.
Mr Hatuleke and his wife had misgivings about conservation agriculture, but they decided to give it a try because of the pro-conservation farming campaign currently going on.
That was in 2004 when World Vision Zambia went to Pemba district when the area was hit by drought. The organisation did not only give out relief food, but also taught small scale farmers about conservation agriculture. The World Vision project ran for four years.
“We were privileged to be among the farmers that received the relief food and training. However, the World Vision training is different from what we are learning now,” Mr Hatuleke said.
After World Vision, came the Conservation Agriculture Scaling Up (CASU) project driven by the Ministry of Agriculture and FAO with support from the European Union.
Over 21,000 lead farmers and an additional 315,000 others farmers were reached. The project’s overall goal was to contribute to reduced hunger, improved food security, good nutrition and income security, while promoting sustainable use of natural resources.
DAPP is currently implementing the Rural Resilience Initiative Project whose response focuses on improving the farmers’ resilience regarding effects of climate change, improving livelihoods and generation of income for the actively involved small scale farmers CLICK TO READ MORE