Why We Teach People to Stop Ploughing Their Fields

(November 2014)

Manager of Agriculture and Business Development at Seed of Hope, Dan Wiens, shares his passion for Conservation Agriculture and explains the difference it makes for local farmers.

The dry winter months are evident as you drive through rural KwaZulu Natal. You see community after community with burned, ploughed, fully exposed soil and we wonder how they are coping with decreased yields year after year. It makes us think about how conditioned we are to admire a field that is clear of debris and revealing the thick furrows of the ploughing tractor. BUT that is not health!!! Bare soil is not healthy. Ploughing furrows are not healthy.

Year after year, we see the same patterns repeated. We have heard people refuse to plant food because so little has come from their efforts in the past. Yet in KwaZulu Natal we still have rich soil and plenty of summer rain. People are wasting the resources that God has given them.

In Farming God’s Way we teach this basic technology:

Do not plough

Do not burn, instead use organic extras as a mulch blanket

Practise crop rotations.

The more we work with farmers in Africa, the more we feel passionate about these technologies and sharing the knowledge we have.

We did two four-day training sessions this fall– the first one at the Seed of Hope Centre in Bhekulwandle, and the second in Itshehlophe – the newer rural area we have branched into.  While our group in Bhekulwandle was relatively small with nine gardeners in attendance, all of them left the training quite inspired – especially after they had planted a small training garden themselves, and then had a chance to see Zephania’s vegetable growing operation.

Farming God’s Way training has reached six rural community gardens.

In Itshehlophe we made contact with a network of 6 community gardens that exist to provide fresh produce to families in crisis. Gardeners are supported with a stipend from government, but the gardens themselves are failing miserably due to very poor gardening practices. They all signed up to implement Farming God’s Way!

Now the real work begins! We must provide ongoing support, training and encouragement for each of these community gardens, and for the 51 people that work at them.

Please pray for more adopters of these methods and for Africa to lead the way in conservation agriculture thereby transforming the output of all its farmers.