Farming the God’s Way-Practical Conservation Farming
Agriculture is the first work human beings were asked to perform (Genesis 2:15). It remains true that today members of the communities go on farming for food and other economies. This also holds for all the districts where the Christian Council of Tanzania works.
When land was fertile covered naturally by trees and other natural materials, farming gave a lot of harvests. Notably however, in the name of development human beings started to destroy it through deforestation and bush fires leaving the top soil uncovered such that when rain falls on it the humus of the top soil is washed away, slowly the soil that was producing much starts to give low harvests because the land is degraded. It is common therefore to hear people complaining that the land is no longer productive, an area that used to produce some 15 bags; from say, an acre of corn(maize) is claimed today to give a bag or two without use of fertilizer.
The problem became more complex when climate change came into being due to our anthropogenic deeds; to peasants/farmers this is associated with unpredictable rains, excessive droughts, floods, and an unprecedented temperature rise in which case our farmers’ sufferings became so serious. Our vehicle the Inter-Religious Village Community Bank members complained about this, the Christian Council of Tanzania through one of its program (Climate change, Environment and Food Security) intervened to at least rescue the situation as from 2015 season and this 2016 season, by introducing a simple and cheap technology of Conservation farming known as” Farming the God’s way” where a small plot of 6m x 6m (36 m2) could give a harvest of up to 2 bags.
WHAT IS FARMING THE GOD’S WAY?
Farming the God’s way is just like any other farming practice but with a difference in that land tilling is done to a minimum (lightly tilled) or no tilling at all, thereafter this land is covered by dead/dry grass which will never germinate (thatch grass, shading leaves of a mango tree, banana plant leaves etc could be used) these will act as mulch / cover to the soil, holes for planting maize/corn are made in the best way. Distance between plants is 60cm and that between lines is 75cm. Apply 350ml of farmyard manure in the hole followed by a tablespoonful of lime/ash in one hole plant 3 maize seeds, ten days after germination remove the weaker one remaining with two strong plants.
The cover/ mulch conserves every single drop of rain water that fell on the soil because the sun rays do not directly reach the soil, if weed grows will be weak and can easily be pulled off by hand therefore no weeding is required. When such steps are followed and observed the small plot will give an output of not less than two bags of maize.
Last season of 2015 in Same District one family witnessed a harvest of 17 bags from quarter an acre plot upon which farming the Gods way was practiced. This season 2016 has observed an increase of the people who had practiced the technology 80 plots currently in Gairo districts and about 60 plots are under preparation for the same in Same District
Question: Does a family need to plough 5-10 acres of maize to end up with 5-10 bags of maize? The answer is definitely no!!