“ To me it is like a miracle to get 600 Kgs of maize from quarter an acre”
It is a beautiful day in Kurio village in central Tanzania. Community members are seen socialising and having conversations as it is now evening time. A narrow path opens up to a neat compound that is surrounded by maize and Savanah Thorn trees.
Here we meet Grace Andrea, a single mother with a disability, living with her own mother and her two children aged 5 and 13 years. Grace is very happy and active at sewing and repairing torn clothes with a hand operated sewing machine.
Grace has gained independence through her sewing business, using her income to grow food on her small one-acre farm close to her modest house. Through traditional agriculture practices, Grace was able to produce a small amount of staple foods for her family; however, with this small amount, she struggled to meet her family’s needs throughout the year. She typically harvested 100kg of maize (corn) per quarter-acre per year. With this maize, Grace makes “ugali” to feed her family. This traditional food is usually eaten with a small amount of vegetables and beans, or meat if available.
World Vision Ireland’s AIM Health Plus Project is working closely with local partner Community Engagement for Sustainable Development (CESuDE) in addressing household food insecurity in communities through Conservation Agriculture to improve farming outputs. Grace was one of the farmers who participated in a training given by CESuDE.
Grace applied the knowledge she gained from the training during the last planting and harvesting season. Receiving help from her neighbours to till the land and supply manure (techniques she learnt during her training), Grace planted improved maize seeds in a quarter acre plot.
To Grace’s delight, she was able to harvest 600kg of maize from her quarter acre. With this harvest, Grace said “I am sure it will be enough to feed my family for the whole year and I have managed to produce 40 Kgs for my two children for their school feeding programme - parents must contribute 20kg per student for the term.”
Grace has become a community change agent in conservation agriculture demonstrating to her neigbours what is possible from a small plot of land.
Grace is also already planning for next season ”I am planning to increase the size of the farm next season so that I can get more harvest which I will then sell to have money to buy a local cow.”