In advance of us going out to Serenje I thought you might enjoy this story of one of the small scale farmers we've been working with in Serenje - Felix Kalunga.
What has happened to him is representative of what the project has achieved in the whole community.
Felix Kalunga is a small scale farmer based in Kashitu community. Felix is 32 years old and has 7 children, five of whom are in school, while the other two are still too young to start school. Felix is one of the hard working farmers who has been receiving agricultural support since 2010. In the 2010 - 2011 farming season, he received 15kg of beans and a 50kg sack of sweet potato vines.
From that initial 15kg of beans he managed to harvest 350kg. He sold 300kg for $360, and kept the remainder to feed his family and to have seed to plant for the next season. From the sale he managed to buy 3 pigs for $50 each. He also spent $56 joining a cooperative so that he can get subsidised fertiliser to allow him to grow maize, a staple food in Zambia.
The rest of the money he used to buy clothes for his family, vegetable seeds and a treadle pump. The treadle pump helps him water his vegetables in the garden. These include tomatoes, cabbage, onion, rape and impwa (wild egg plant). The garden has again helped Felix in meeting his most immediate needs such as paying for his school going children, buying school equipment (uniforms, books, pens and pencils) and for other household goods.
In the 2011 – 2012 farming season, Felix received 15kg of seed out of which 10kg were groundnuts and 5kg beans. From the 10kg of groundnuts he received, he harvested 215 kilograms of unshelled groundnuts. He is so thankful to the project for empowering him with seed farming techniques and is ready to take up responsibility for his livelihoods. He has kept enough seed for the 2012 – 2013 farming season and is one of the farmers who will not get seed for the next farming season.
He said that before the project came to his community, he used to have a lot of problems in making ends meet in terms of providing enough food to his household. He even said that the little they could harvest would not last until the next farming season. Today, he is able to pay for his children’s school fees and buy decent clothes, something he could not manage do before. He further encourages other farmers in the community to work hard so that they remain better than they were before the project started in terms of food security. He really thanks God for this project and the entire staff who have made it possible that the needy (poor) people in the communities are empowered in food security and livestock.