International Development: For The love of Farming
published on 4 Jul 2014
Have you loved being out in your garden this summer? Whether you’ve been tending to your plants, getting lost in a good book or topping up the tan, hopefully it has been a place of rest and relaxation.
HELPING FARMERS IN MALAWI
In places like the Phalombe district of southern Malawi, The Salvation Army is helping people get out into their gardens too. That’s because these small plots of land are vital to the livelihoods of most of the people who live in rural areas. They use this small piece of land to grow the food they need to feed their family. If they grow enough, they can also earn some money from the extra produce too.
However these communities are already being affected by the reduced rainfall due to the changing climate. This is making it even harder to make sure farmers can grow enough food. In fact, many households run out of food between November and February, which is the driest time of year.
Most of the rural communities in this region still use traditional slash and burn methods to cultivate their fields. This strips the land of vital nutrients, which over time further reduces the amount of food which can be grown from the land.
Rhoda is one of a number of farmers from the region who The Salvation Army has been working with to provide training in a simple method of farming that protects the land and increases the amount of food that can be grown. One of the things that Rhoda has learned is the importance of mulching her crops. She told us that ‘this has prevented weeds from damaging my crops and helped to conserve moisture’, something which is vital when rain is becoming increasingly scarce.
Rhoda shows us her ready to harvest maize garden
Unlike many farmers in her village, Rhoda is expecting a good harvest, despite the minimal rain. She is also now helping to teach others in the community the same techniques she has learned. ‘I do not have to buy food since I now produce enough food. I can sell the surplus and use the money to pay school fees for my children.’
We love to see small farmers able to make the best use of their land. Rhoda can now not only grow more good, but she is also better protected from the impacts that climate change is already having. However, if we don’t take action to tackle climate change, it is going to become harder and harder for people like Rhoda to grow enough food.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE?
We all care about things that are at risk from climate change. That’s why we’re asking YOU to share something you love, to show politicians that we do care, to show that we want to protect those things that are important to us.
For the love of food or farming. For the love of your garden. For the love of summer. For the love of Rhoda and the 1.2 billion people living in extreme poverty, let’s take action on climate change. Share your love here You can also order free postcards to get your corps, church, family and friends to share what they love. Order yours from firstname.lastname@example.org.