Archive for the Conservation Farming Category

Back to the basics: Fighting hunger with conservation agriculture in western Zambia

Posted on Wednesday, June 5th, 2013 at 10:40 am

By Carl Wahl, Concern Worldwide Conservation Agriculture Coordinator, Zambia

Matumbo Yembe, 44, like so many Zambians, lives off the radar.

Handicapped from polio as a child, Matumbo Yembe lived alone without any support from aid programs until she was introduced to conservation agriculture. Today, she is growing her own food and slowly inching her way out of poverty.

Handicapped from polio as a child, Matumbo Yembe lived alone without any support from aid programs until she was introduced to conservation agriculture. Today, she is growing her own food and slowly inching her way out of poverty.

Her right leg withered and weak, Matumbo was tragically crippled as a child from polio and moves around with the help of a stick. She has scratched out a living doing whatever piecemeal work she could to get by. Because she lives alone and has little or no social connections, Matumbo, never benefited from any aid programs—that is until she was introduced to conservation agriculture.

Over the past few years, I have witnessed a transformation. With support from Concern Worldwide, Matumbo is now growing her own food and slowly inching her way out of poverty. What impresses me about her is that so many people in her position—alone, disabled, and poor—would lose all hope and fade away. But Matumbo, as my old football coach used to say, has “no quit in her.” Every time I visit her, there is not a single weed to be seen and the crops are perfect. She is nothing short of remarkable, and I continue to be amazed by how the techniques that we call “conservation agriculture” can be such a catalyst for people to lift themselves out of extreme poverty.

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Pace of Progress Dangerously Slow on Climate Change

Posted on Wednesday, June 20th, 2012 at 8:23 am

By Tom Arnold, Chief Executive of Concern Worldwide

The three-day United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development which started in Rio de Janeiro today (Wednesday, June 20) presents world leaders with an excellent opportunity to adopt a new approach to climate change that reflects the priorities of the developing world. Called Rio+20, it marks the 20th anniversary of the historic 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development attended by 179 countries which put sustainable development on the global agenda.

The Sahel region of Africa is currently facing a food security crisis that threatens more than 18 million people

Climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time. In the poorest countries where Concern works, the strains caused by climate change are increasingly evident. Erratic seasons, rising droughts and floods, uncertain planting dates, and shorter growing periods for essential staples are all having an impact. For the world’s poor, who overwhelmingly depend on rain-fed agriculture for their survival, the changing patterns of climate, land availability, and food production have caused chaos.

In the Sahel region of Africa, where a current food security crisis threatens more than 18 million people, rainfall has decreased by 25 percent in the last 30 years wreaking havoc on farming communities. Other factors like deforestation, overgrazing, continuous cropping, desertification, and poor water management have also contributed to a deteriorating environment.

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Tanzania’s ‘Female Food Hero’ Takes Center Stage

Posted on Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011 at 10:06 am

The winner! Ester Jerome (left) receiving a sculpture from Sophia Simba, Minister of Community Development, Gender, & Children. Photo: Isla Gilmore, Concern Worldwide

By Isla Gilmore, Communications and Advocacy Officer, Tanzania

On World Food Day last month, Concern Tanzania took part in a major national event to honor the winner of the ‘Female Food Hero’ prize. Ester Jerome was selected out of 7,000 country-wide entries based on her use of innovative methods of farming, animal husbandry, and food processing; and her work to be a leader of change in the community helping others to tackle the challenges facing small scale producers.

Members of the public voted for their favorite candidates out of 20 selected by the judges and 11 finalists made it to a training camp to learn about improved farming practices, gender, and health issues.

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An Old Man in Tanzania Learns New Tricks

Posted on Wednesday, October 12th, 2011 at 10:56 am

Mzee Barosha on his farm with curious children, many of whom are his grand children, Kasulu. Photo: Isla Gilmore, Tanzania

By Isla Gilmore, Communications and Advocacy Officer, Tanzania

I have a soft spot for elderly people, so I was delighted to meet Mzee Bakari Barosha, a gentle 70-year-old farmer in Kasulu District, West Tanzania. We met him at the back of his little mud-brick house in Kigembe village, where he was tending to two baby goats that were born that day.

Mzee Barosha has never had much money. His 70 years have been spent cultivating crops to use for food for his family. He has always cultivated a small amount of beans that he would sell in order to buy essential items but he has never made much out of it. Because of this, it was impossible for his eight children to go any further than primary school.   Read the rest of this entry »

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