Increased corn production means improved health and education
What originated as an inability to harvest enough corn to support their families had turned into a domino effect of hardships for members of Kasaka village in Zambia. Because of poor crop yields, many children in the village were malnourished. This, in turn, meant most didn’t attend school and with the village focus always on producing food, there little resources existed for schools or village infrastructure.
With many intertwined challenges, the Enactus team at Lambton College knew the foundation to success for this village was developing more secure and predictable farming. By educating and empowering local farmers to employ more modern and innovative farming practices, the team identified that villagers could quintuple their harvest yields. Better use of existing acreage – the village hadn’t altered their farming practices in centuries – would increase corn production to combat food insecurity and create a revenue source to supply resources for the school.
The team started by partnering with a Canadian agronomist to develop a three-day workshop on the many differences between their traditional plow farming and modern no-till practices. This workshop taught the farmers the importance of conserving soil moisture, the disadvantages of plowing in drought conditions, proper seed spacing and planting depth and good use of fertilizers. Next, the team sectioned two acres of land on the Kasaka Basic School property where they helped to implement these new methods with 40,000 seeds of corn.
By transforming farming practices that had been used for centuries in this village, the “One Seed” project increased corn production by five times and revenues by seven times. Mass hunger is no longer the norm and education is now a focus for this rural community. The school building has been expanded, a solar lighting system implemented to extend class hours and soon these students will even have computers with internet capability.