‘Farming God’s Way’ Increases Production, Conserves Precious Topsoil and Transforms Lives in Malawi

Tuesday, June 27, 2023

‘Farming God’s Way’ Increases Production, Conserves Precious Topsoil and Transforms Lives in Malawi

Tuesday, June 27, 2023

It’s called “Farming God’s Way” (FGW) and more and more small farmers in rural regions of sub-Saharan African countries, such as Malawi, are turning to this method to increase their harvests and conserve their soil and, in fact, make more fertile with each growing season.

Our new partner in the country, Faithful Heart Foundation (FHF), with the support of Bread and Water for Africa®, is hoping to train 30 individual farmers, 20 women and 10 men, selected to participate in a training program in Gogo Village, reports FHF chairperson Alex Steven Bango.

“This training of Farming in God’s Way will be done with the purpose of teaching local farmers who desire to improve their standards of living by changing their mode of farming from conventional (local) methodology to Biblical principles,” says Alex.

FGW, also known as “conservation agriculture,” promotes methods of not disturbing the soil (no-tilling), crop-rotation and the application of mulch cover as ways of mitigating climate change and environmental stress on depleted soils while at the same time increasing productivity.

(The late Prince Philip founded the now-defunct UK-based Alliance of Religions and Conservation which promoted the FGW method of agriculture as part of its mission to address issues of global warming through pledges of faith action on the environment aimed at achieving generational change. In 2009, the then-Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations Development Programme described this coming together of religion and conservation as “potentially the biggest civil society movement on climate change in history.”)

Alex explained that he will be selecting local farmers “who are harvesting below their family quantity needs, which means they frequently have shortages of food” in order to improve their livelihood and eventually become self-reliant.

“This will change their mindset from dependency on handouts of food, and at the same time result in the restoration of their soil fertility and conservation of soil caused by the harm climate change is doing periodically in our area.”

He added that the participating farmers will also be taught the best times of the year to grow their various crops – vegetables and grains – as well as best practices for raising domestic livestock such as goats and chickens.

FHF was founded in 2010 by individuals with the vision of “reaching people with both spiritual and human needs through…training and equipping less privileged people in surrounding communities” and with the mission of eradicating hunger in families and in the community through increased crop yields, improving the village residents’ income-generating ability and skills, as well as their overall wellbeing, with the ultimate goal of reducing malnutrition and infant mortality rates.

(The 2023 infant mortality rate in Malawi is nearly 33 deaths per 1,000 live births, which compares to an average of less than six deaths per 1,000 in the U.S.).

On a smaller scale, Alex has already been creating “farming clubs” utilizing the FGW method and members have been showing “great improvements and good outcomes” that have already drawn attention around the country.

“Agricultural government workers have been coming to do research in our gardens, and even international farmers have been coming from abroad to see our fields,” he says.

Through the utilization of FGW sustainable agricultural practices, Alex expects participants will be able to generate an additional 300,000 Malawian kwacha (about $300) annually in income – a significant amount in a country of more than 21 million where the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita in 2021 was $635, or about $2 per day, according to The World Bank.

In his request to Bread and Water for Africa®, Alex is seeking funding to conduct a three-day intensive training session, field tools, local organic fertilizer (manure) and “blankets,” grasses which are used to cover bare soil, which will help the farmers to reduce water runoff, prevent loss of topsoil through erosion and conserve what moisture there is available.

“In our country, most of us depend on farming,” Alex wants the supporters of Bread and Water for Africa® to know. “Therefore, we need to change our minds to do farming beyond our capacity in order to change our background from being beggars to becoming givers. Not only for myself, but for all those who want their future to be a bright and successful one.”

Photos courtesy Faithful Heart Foundation

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