Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Conservation Agriculture training

Conservation Agriculture (CA), basically the intersection of agriculture and Sustainable Land Management, is a promising way forward for smallholder and sustenance farmers in Africa who face rising input costs and environment degradation. AWP has always viewed irrigation as a means to extend the growing season(s) in a given area. If irrigation doubles the number of harvests a farmer can realize in a year, the farmers technique may be the greatest factor effecting his total output for the year. In other words, in a single growing season (rainy season) many farmers realize less (far less) than 50% of the potential of their land. AWP offers training in CA to improve a farmer's yield and set a basis on which irrigation can build. As I mentioned, this training is in high demand. In 2011, AWP plans to provide training to farmers in 7 villages across 3 districts of Malawi's central region.

  1. Mziza, Lilongwe.

  2. Chibanzi, Dowa

  3. Kaduwa, Lilongwe (with Collective Hope)

  4. Chitedze, Lilongwe (with African Bible College students)

  5. Mponela, Dowa (with Biwi Home-based Care)

  6. Dedza Saw Mill (with Julian and Nora)

  7. Dedza (with African Bible College students)
The trainings will take place throughout the year. There are seven lessons centered around a demonstration plot. (Pictured above is the Mzumala Agriculture Club at their demonstration plot.) The 7 lessons in chronological order:

  1. Composting

  2. Crop residue and mulching

  3. Planting technique

  4. Use of fertilizer and compost

  5. Weed, pest, and disease control

  6. Harvesting

  7. Crop rotation and farm planning
A demonstration plot for Conservation Agriculture is comprised of 8 subdivision of 10 sq. meters each. The first subdivision demonstrates the farmers' traditional method of growing maize. The second demonstrates CA techniques using chemical fertilizers and pesticides. The third demonstrates an integrated fertilizer/compost technique. The fourth is CA applied to soya, groundnuts, or beans. And the 5th through the 8th are a repetition of the first 4.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

From the archives...

Following up on the previous posting about my car, one of those "African Life" photos involving my car and a bunch of water pump parts:

Now multiply that load by 30 pumps... just doesn't fit.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Enabling families in the US to HELP families in Africa

Africa Windmill Project has a pressing need.
A Truck.
Our current transport is pictured here. We call it the "goat" named because the horn is broken and sounds like a sick goat when used (which is often, because, well, it's Malawi).
We love the gas mileage this car gets, but used parts that we can find to fix it have about 10% of their life left. We have rebuilt and re-rebuilt this car. The villages we work in are not located on roads, speed bumps here in the US are nothing compared with the creeks, ditches and other obstacles that stand in our path when trying to reach our sites. Also, now that the farmers are seeing success they need to be able to take crops to market, which is more than a days walk in some cases.
When I asked Christopher if he would write a blog about this pressing need, this was his response...
"I will try to get a blog post up about the distance and conditions of the villages. I think one thing to remind the donors is that this will directly impact the people we are working with. Supplies will arrive on time and in 1 trip (rather then 5 or 6 different trips) and we will be able to search out new markets for their crops. Also the truck will help us in the future be able to reach villages farther from town that are neglected by support organizations and government programs"
So, if you are willing to donate money towards this need,
PLEASE go to or mail a check to Africa Windmill Project 2869 Carew Avenue, Winter Park, FL 32789 c/o John Drake (make all checks payable to Africa Windmill Project).
You will be directly impacting farmers and their childrens lives in Africa. Thank you for your generosity. We appreciate you!