From the beginning of the implementation of the project “From autopilot to Champion Farmer” a lot has been done. Jacana has installed solar pumps for all farmers sponsored by AFAS. In this project, Jacana is guiding small-scale farmers step by step in expanding and diversifying their agricultural activities on a lima (50X50m). Each farmer is guided on how to manage his/her vegetables, improve soils, learn new agriculture methods and keep track of all financial transactions of the business.
In one of the project areas (Petauke) Jacana brought together all 15 farmers and visited the garden of two farmers in their group. The purpose of the visit is to allow farmers to motivate and learn from each other, especially in areas of crop production and pest and insect control. This year on 28th September 2023, the farmers visited Emmanuel Mumba and Nathani Sakala.
The Farmers first visited Emmanuel Mumba who mainly grows, F1 okra, F1 cabbage, and red creole onion, and he has also a few lines of cauliflower, he is experimenting on his lima to see if it can do well in his garden. Farmers interacted with Emmanuel Mumba, they asked how he manages his garden, and the challenges he is currently facing. However, two crops in Emmanuel’s garden caught the attention of some of the farmers. They were curious to know how he had managed to grow good quality onion and cabbage despite having the same climatic conditions. Emmanuel Mumba explained and demonstrated how he grows his onion and cabbage. He explained that onion growing requires soil that is loose, well drained and contains high organic matter so that it allows the growth of the bulb. Organic manure keeps the soil moist and provides quality nutrients to the plant.
Here in the picture, Emmanuel is demonstrating how to make a good nursery bed for onion.
Emmanuel also shared how to grow good-quality cabbage. The secret is simple, after transplanting, the cabbage needs to be pruned and manure needs to be added after every two weeks. This means, you prune and add manure to your cabbage four times in a month. This is done to promote ventilation and remove damaged and diseased leaves and this encourages the plant to form a head.
Here in the picture, Emmanuel is showing how he has managed to produce good quality organic cabbage.
In the afternoon on the same day, the farmers visited Nathani Sakala’s field to see his very healthy orange trees in his 50X50m garden. Just after the project was implemented, Nathani planted 15 grafted orange trees. He also shared with his fellow farmers how to manage these citrus trees and how to look for customers. He advised that it is important not only to grow vegetables but also to plant fruit trees so that if one business is not doing well the income can help boost the other business in the garden.