‘Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day; show him how to catch fish, and you feed him for a lifetime’ (Anonymous)
Impact Farming is built around this proverb. It is our aim and desire to see farmers being empowered and to become self-sustained
The problem that Africa faces, is that 30% of the world’s natural resources, favourable climate, rainfall and soils are found in Africa. However, 35% of the population remains undernourished. Countries in sub-Saharan Africa live on less than $1.25 a day which is categorized by the UN as extreme poverty.
Even more alarming, in the last 50 years, Africa has received over US$2,000 Billion of aid, yet the number of people living in poverty had increased.
This raises the question – why is Africa experiencing such severe hunger and poverty in spite of all the aid given?
Africa has seen a decrease in crop yields and escalation of costs. This is due to the use of traditional (European) farming methods. With a rainfall that is often limited in short intense periods, the ploughed land is washed away and only a small amount of the moisture is retained.
Through Impact Farming, struggling farmers are given the chance to be trained in this method. This method is so basic and simple that by even applying it to ones backyard garden, it can be successful. The only commitment that is needed from these farmers is their time, energy and their land. For this farming method to work it has to be applied faithfully and with great stewardship.
Impact Farming believes that nature’s way is the success to this story. There is no tilling of the soil and a mulch cover from fallen leaves and plant material is an ideal environment for good growth. This will greatly reduce soil erosion and will effectively transfer the water to the plants. This mulch cover reduces the risk of pests and disease as well.
This is a very simple, but effective way!
The planting season takes place between November and December. The harvest time will be in February the following year.
It all starts with a small piece of land for the best results – 10mx10m. Because of this small start, farmers can now focus on applying the method correctly. This method needs to be done rigidly and on time for it to be successful. What makes this even more accessible and attractive, is that this method is very manual and requires only the skill of using a hoe.
This method is based on the following principles:
- Maintain a mulch cover. Don’t burn!
- Maintain the soil structure & preserve the natural fauna. Avoid ploughing at all cost!
- Specific spacing and specifications need to be applied to achieve optimal plant populations. This will give the plants the best chance to thrive. Giving nutrition to plants is vital. Do it in whichever form you are able to i.e. manure, compost, etc.
- Make sure the weed is removed as early as possible to save time and energy. This will in return cause the whole to become more manageable.
When this method is being followed rigidly, the expected goal will be first and foremost to feed the family. Surplus will then be sold to purchase the following planting season’s input and above this, the surplus can also be sold to make a profit and cover living expenses.
Alongside these practical principles, certain life lessons are also incorporated into this scheme and this imparts good character traits.
- On Time. It is all about planning ahead, being well prepared, having an early start and never being late.
- At a High Standard. It is of utmost importance that every operational detail is done with honesty and no shortcuts.
- Without Wasting. Don’t waste time, soil, water, sunlight, seed, labour, energy nor opportunity.
- With Joy. It is crucial that these three things are done with joy and thankfulness. This creates an environment of hope and optimism.
One farmer said in response to the success: ‘Never in our lives did we have more than enough!”
In all of this, Impact Farming will not only teach a farmer to produce for his family and earn income but create a good self-esteem and in return change the course of his family and many generations to come. With this method, followed faithfully, Africa will be in the position to feed itself.