May 2022

Hello ,

Inspiration days

In April, a delegation of Jacana went to the AFAS headquarters in Leusden, the Netherlands and had the opportunity to give a presentation with the result that Jacana and AFAS Foundation have entered into a five-year cooperation. In the five years Jacana wants to turn 50 farmers who have been farming on automatic pilot for years into "Champion farmers".

AFAS Foundation
  • Many farmers depend on the rainy season (5 months a year) to grow mostly maize, soya beans or groundnuts.
  • In the dry season, farmers can only cultivate something if they have a well or have access to a stream, but this is very uncertain because they often run dry. Many farmers have to bridge a period of at least half a year with little or no income.
  • Unfortunately, history has shown that almost no farmer has an overview of income and expenses, let alone loss or profit.
A maize field in the rainy season, with 1 lima indication

In this program, we ask farmers to provide a lima (50x50m) of land where they learn to farm in a way that is "new" to them.
  • These farmers receive a partially sponsored (solar) pump, this gives them access to water throughout the year.
  • Together with Jacana, they will learn new techniques, grow new crops, use new tools.
  • The farmers receive business, financial and marketing training. The farmers learn to use a simple accounting system that clearly shows what this new way of farming yields in comparison to the "old" way. When they understand their financial situation they can make better decisions about investments, such as a second affordable pump or drip irrigation system and perhaps an affordable greenhouse.

Jacana will work with small-scale entrepreneurs to develop and market affordable agricultural resources. The champions will gradually set an example for fellow farmers and show that with local resources it is possible to expand your business step by step.
The program takes place in Lundazi, Petauke and Chipata and each year a farmer of the year will be awarded.
brainstorm meeting
Brainstorming at the office

Jacana is continuously learning and has a lot to learn also in this project, therefore we organized two inspiration days for the staff involved in this project, 8 people in total. On Thursday, May 5, we started with a brainstorming morning. We looked at what farmers, on 1 lima land, can do differently than they have been doing for years. Great ideas came up, such as planting vegetables between fruit trees, keeping goats within a fence, building a fish pond, growing nutritious vegetables that are not yet super common such as broccoli, ginger, garlic, red and yellow peppers, chilies, etc.

How will we select potential champions? Collins (manager in Chipata) put it as follows: "we are looking for farmers who are doing small, great things". That sums everything up nicely, these are motivated people who deserve our help because they are already doing small inspiring things despite very difficult circumstances.
Mr. Mtonga explains 2
Mr. Mtonga explains about fruit trees

In order not to get stuck in talking, we visited two already very inspiring farmers with our staff.

First, we went to visit Mr. Mtonga in Chipata. He has worked in Germany for some time and calls himself a "hobby" farmer with green fingers. He talks passionately about how he always tries to grow crops that can bring him extra income and that are not yet so common. For example, we see avocado trees with ginger in between. He has found a good market for these crops. He is very skilled in grafting fruit trees and enjoys passing on his knowledge to others. Mr. Mtonga, on his own initiative, donated some of his fruit trees for the new, still sober Jacana site.
ginger between mango trees
Mr Mtonga between the avocado trees with ginger in the middle

On Friday morning we went to Chikowa Youth Development Centre in Mfuwe. This centre is run by Italian brothers and apart from training young people in woodworking, agriculture and hospitality, they have a large commercial vegetable garden with greenhouses. They sell their vegetables to the lodges in Luangwa National Park, to individuals in Chipata and to a supermarket chain in the capital, Lusaka.

Here, we received a lot of information on market research, growing vegetables in greenhouses, growing trees, keeping free range chickens, goats and cows.

Brother Francisco also showed us a new way of making compost, bokashi compost. In short, a lot of new impressions that fit into the local context.
Brother Francisco explains
Brother Francisco explains

Back in the various offices, there is always the danger that what has been learnt will slip away again, which is why we are going to put some of these new ideas into practice in the individual offices, so that we can first gain experience ourselves and also introduce farmers to them.
Example how a greenhouse can be used
You can find more details on