By Mbangweta Emmanuel (Community Development Worker) and Trust Moyo (Development Facilitator) World Vision in Zambia
Forty-eight-year-old Cosmas Zulu from Dimuna village in Twikatane Zone, located 60 kilometres from Chongwe district is one of the project participants in World Vision’s Sustainable Enterprise and Economic Development (SEED) Technical Programme that is part of the organization's Chongwe South Area Programme (AP).
Mr. Zulu is married with eight children - three boys and five girls - five of whom are in school doing different grades. Erick is in grade 10), Beauty in grade 7, Jane in grade 6, Juliet in grade 3, and Ireen in grade 2. Three of his school-going children, Juliet, Erick and Ireen are being supported by World Vision's Sponsorship Programme.
From 2017 to date, World Vision has been empowering local farmers like Mr. Zulu on how to handle farming as a business; mainly through skills and knowledge transfer in climate-smart agriculture practices such as Farming God’s Way (FGW), which is conservation agriculture through a Biblical lens.
Mr. Zulu, a beneficiary of the FGW training, testifies that he used to have great difficulties providing for his family before his training: “Before World Vision came to train us in vegetable growing, I was making losses because I was cultivating big portions with more expenses but the yields kept on diminishing with less income coming into my pockets. This unprofitable conventional farming as my main source of income resulted in me having challenges providing for my family. I had inadequate resources to provide or buy enough household goods, like cooking oil, sugar, washing and bathing soap. I also couldn't afford to buy school uniforms and pay school fees for my children".
After the training in FGW, Mr. Zulu reduced his garden size from 1/2 to 1/4 of a hectare, which is more manageable than when he used to have a bigger garden. Even though he is using a smaller space, his yield has increased.
“World Vision taught us that good farming is not just about cultivating big portions, but a combination of having a reasonable field with good management, and application of good techniques,” says Cosmas. “I appreciate World Vision for giving me the knowledge that we should do farming for business. My yields are better and now, I can generate more income. I am a proud and happy husband and father! My family is happy now because I can meet my household needs,” he adds.
Mr. Zulu states that even after only the first yield, he can manage to pay school requirements for his children.
“From my first yield of rape vegetable (Brassica Napus), I harvested 37 bags by 50kgs and sold each at ZMW 70 (USD $4) generating a total of ZMW 2,590 (USD $152). On the second cut, I got 46 by 50kg bags of Brassica Napus and sold at ZMW60 (USD $3.50) giving me ZMW 2,760 (USD $162.40). From the generated profit, I bought uniforms, paid school fees for my child in grade 10 and other school requirements for the other children,” he says.
The small-scale farmer said the booming sales allow his children to have a better life than he did. He thanks World Vision for transforming the lives of many vulnerable people in his community: “I would not have managed to raise the required money if I had continued with the old farming ways. It is all because of World Vision that my children will get the education I never did. I want them to live a better life and be responsible, God-fearing community members”.