A second solar irrigation system is being purchased for the Communal Farm in Zambia, paid for by your generous donations.

Getting all the equipment required for the system is not an easy task. Pipes and other basic items are available locally, but Livingstone is a small town, and many important items, including the pump itself, must be ordered from South Africa. We hope this will not add too much time and expense to this project.

The second pump will make it possible to grow soybeans, groundnuts and corn, the all-important staple crops for both personal consumption and sale, even when Mother Nature does not provide the necessary water. Because of severe drought, the first plantings of these crops early in 2022 did not yield well, either in quantity or quality. With the progression of global climate change, it is likely that drought will be more and more prevalent in the coming years. This is why our priority is the installation of the second system, which will irrigate the parcel of the land dedicated to the staple crops. Next year’s yields should be much better.

Meanwhile, vegetables are flourishing on the parcel served by the original pump. One hundred heads of cabbage and two large fields of “spinach" (what we call chard) will add welcome freshness to our community’s diet, as well as some sorely needed income.

Construction of an enclosure and a large shed for housing goats is also underway. Once complete, the first goats can be purchased, and the goat rearing can begin! Besides being a crop that can be sold for profit, the goats will also help keep the bush under control (the speed at which the African bush reclaims cleared land is truly amazing!) and provide valuable fertilizer for the vegetable crops.

Our farmers are determined to feed their families by growing their own food. With their diligence and hard work, the farm should eventually become self-sustaining.

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Updated: Jul 18

Work on the Communal Farm continues and, like all agricultural ventures, there are some successes and some setbacks. The goat rearing project is progressing well, thanks to your donations from our April GlobalGiving campaign. An enclosure is being built, and the housing shed just needs a roof. Once these are completed, the first goats can be purchased.

Drought is an ever-increasing impediment to all our farm projects. The first harvest of staple crops was disappointing; lack of rain stunted the growth of the maize, groundnuts and soybeans, seriously decreasing both the yield and the quality.

Normally, the rainy season in this area is from November - March, and the dry season is from May to October. But due to climate change, over the last few years it has become difficult to predict when or how much rain will fall. It has been very dry since 2020. Last year the rains did not start until January, and stopped during February - only 1 month of precipitation instead of 5 months. This means that it was already dry before the dry season began. The next few months will be perilous for all crops without major irrigation.

There is no indication that the drought situation will get better. We would like to dig a second well on the Communal Farm to be able to irrigate a larger portion of the land to insure better yields, and to be able to plant during more of the year. This will provide not only food for the community, but also a source of income to help the farm become self sustaining.

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