In Menkao people rely on growing cassava to survive. It is the one staple food consumed by most people in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Unfortunately, disrupted rainfall, as a result of climate change, has led to a reduction of cassava yields. This means that farmers who rely on their crops for food are struggling to produce enough to feed their families.
To resolve their food shortage, the communities in Menkao formed farmers groups. Members learnt about intercropping and the importance of planting acacia trees alongside their cassava plants. Acacia trees enrich the soil with vital nutrients and help to increase the growth of the other crops.
Nsimba Joseph (36) is one of the farmers who learnt these techniques. He is the father of three children and guardian to his late brother’s seven children. Nsimba has planted 1200 acacia trees in his 2 acre farm. He said, “I used to harvest less than 20 bags of cassava, now I harvest more than 30 bags”. He shared what he had learnt, “The acacia trees shed leaves which add nitrogen to the soil as well as covering the soil as mulch. This means that the soil moisture does not evaporate even in the very dry seasons. With more fertile and moist soil, my cassava can thrive”.
Nsimba is now hopeful for his family as he says, “With my increased sale of cassava, I now afford school fees for my own 3 children and my late brother’s children”.
Nsimba is looking forward to starting bee-keeping as his acacia trees will provide good pollen and will make his acacia forest more secure.
You can enrich the lives of farmers like Nsimba by supporting the Enriching Lives Helping-Hand appeal. Read more about the Appeal and how to get involved at: http://www.salvationarmy.org.uk/enrichinglives