Friday, August 26, 2016

Warning: If you killed the lake you might kill the land too!

Recently I had the privilege of training farmers who live in the shores of
Lake Kyoga at the northern most tip of Busoga in a town called Bukungu. Many of the farmers had previously been relying on fishing in the large, sprawling lake but now that Kyoga is choking from water hyacinth, water lettuce and water fern (all invasive species) with little or no intervention from the government fishing is a dwindling business . These problems are only exacerbated by over fishing on the lake where fish are harvested immaturely and siltation from soil erosion makes things even worse. All of these problems add together to make an eminent natural disaster; the lake is dying from mismanagement.

On the shores of Lake Kyoga training people in Farming God's Way. They have left fishing (because of the dying lake) for farming; the danger is that they will treat the land the same way they treated the lake. Let's learn to be faithful with what we have otherwise the little we have may be taken away.

The lake is choking with weeds like Water Hyacinth

Not much is different on the land; the land is choked with difficult weeds like
Striga (witchweed) and Couch grass average yields are declining to levels that can hardly support a family. The land is mishandled like the lake and the results are the same.

As I started my conversation with the farmers on the first day of our workshop I felt I must warn them; "If you are killing the lake you will also kill the land -- unless you change" We concentrated our training on being faithful with the gifts God has give us as farmers; soil, rain, our time, energy and money. If we don't learn how to be good stewards we will turn from one resource to another, destroying it and making it useless to the following generations.

The lesson is bigger than this, though.
The Bible teaches that if we are not faithful with this world's wealth we will not be trustworthy with true riches.

Have you taken God's resources for granted? It's time to make use of what God has extended to you; grace and mercy in His Son, Jesus Christ.

Please pray for our farmers in Bukungu to faithfully apply what they have learned.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Drought? What Drought?

Lately much of Uganda and even much of Africa has experienced drought in the last growing season. In fact, the food security problem in Africa is so bad that the FAO's current list of " 37 Country's in need of external food assistance", 30 of the 37 countries are in Africa.  This inclement weather has left many farmers with withered crops and empty store rooms. Of course empty store rooms means hard times ahead; famine. This is going to be a rough season for many people in the coming months with very little from their fields to feed them.  Of course, this will also mean appeals for aid and food handouts to sustain these farmers until the next crops come in. Here we go again… the begging bowl of Africa back on the TV screens and now Facebook posts pleading for help. But it doesn’t need to be like this! In fact for our Farming God's Way farmers across the continent it isn't like this.

Throughout Uganda farmers were hit with a late onset of rains, (our rains normally come with the Equinox around mid march but  came this year around April 1st) which meant late planting and then very heavy rains in the middle of the season and then the rains stopped as the crops were maturing. This spells bad news for the average farmers but our farmers are not average farmers! They are average people with the average tools (hoes and machetes) who are farming God's way! Farming God's Way teaches farmers to mulch as heavily as possibly on as much of their land as possible. This means when it is raining heavily their land absorbs the rain deep into the soil profile. Then, when the sun starts to shine the mulch protects the moisture from evaporation and keeps the soil and plant roots nice and cool; perfect conditions for growth! The result is great crops despite weeks of drought. This means food on the table and food in the store rooms. It also means Africans shouting God's goodness and not begging for more hand-outs! Which one do you like to hear about?
On the left is a conventional plot and on the right a Farming God's Way plot; same sun, same rainfall from this last "drought" season -- one looks like a drought stricken garden and one looks like a well watered garden. The difference is faithfulness with the talents God has given us here on the African Continent. photo credit to Vocare Ministries

We're working hard to see that we have more givers than beggars; it's slow but exciting work!
Above are a  few of the farmers that I train in Wante in their gardens earlier in this drought-stricken season. Drought? What Drought?