Insert Above: Anna pausing with the CEO of Farm Radio Trust, George Vilili and the Sustainable Land Management Specialist and Senior Fellow of the World Resources Institute from Network Institute of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and World Resources Institute Chris Reij
This is Anna Scott. She hails from Kwindanguwo Village in Dowa district. She is a 54-year-old widow who lives with her 25year old son. Anna is a farmer by occupation but also relies on the benefits she realizes from practicing FMNR and Village Saving Groups as a source of her income.
For years, she could remove all the shoot and sprouts that emerged in the field during land preparation. “I could barely get enough food that did not even last us half a year as by then, we were the four of us, myself and my 3 children. On a piece of land of 1 acre, I could only realize 2 carts of maize, an equivalent of 2000kg. This was because of persistent dry spells in most parts of the seasons as well as poor soil nutrition.” narrated Anna. She further explained that her life changed when TLC came to her village in 2005 with tree seedlings that they distributed among farmers in the area for farmers to plant in their various fields. Upon the implementation of this project, TLC encouraged farmers to care for the self-germinating trees that were sprouting in their fields.
Since the time that Anna started keeping naturally regenerating trees in her field in 2005, it took her five more years to start fully realizing results from the trees she was keeping. Before the trees, she could not stay longer in the field doing field activities due to scorching from the direct sun. After she reserved some trees, she was able to do the farming activities for longer periods as she had shade in her field. In 2015, Anna was able to fully appreciate the benefits of FMNR on her farm. “There was a persistent dry spell in February so much so that most of the crops did not do well in the area due to water stress. It was not a severe case for me as the trees would provide shade in the field thereby retaining water in the soil as well as protecting the crops from excessive transpiration. In collaboration with FMNR, I was also mulching the field to allow for reduced evapo-transpiration in the crops. In that year, I was able to harvest three and a half carts of maize.”
“As women, we are obliged to cook for the family. The challenge we have is where to get firewood. Before I started practicing FMNR, I would cook using maize stalks and this would take a longer time for the food to fully cook. Sometimes I could buy firewood, which would cost K50.00, a bundle of 2 tree branches. Now I do not have such problems at all, I am able to get firewood from my field. At the start of each rainy season, during land preparation, I harvest a lot of firewood from pruning the trees to allow for good crop growth. I sell a cart of firewood at K10,000.00. This money helps in providing for school fees for my child as well as household use. I also sell troughs at K5000 per pole. This has helped me to economically depend on myself from the income generated from FMNR, apart from other sources. In addition to this, I also collect some natural fruits from some trees on my farm as a source of food.” Explained Anna.
Anna recommended Farm Radio Trust for introducing a radio listening program that has given her an opportunity to have access to radio where FMNR information is accessed. “I don’t have any ICT gadget in my home. I now belong to Kwindanguwo listening club, where we meet every Wednesday at 2:00 pm to listen to Tipindule ndi Ulimi wa Ziphukira radio program on Maziko Radio. I was very happy to be given an opportunity to listen to fellow farmers explain about FMNR on the radio but also share my experience by talking on the radio- a thing I never thought could happen in my life. This has encouraged me to believe in myself to know that what I can do if shared to the public, can impact someone else’s life.” Said Anna with a smile on her face.
Anna grows groundnuts, maize, sweet potatoes, and soybean under FMNR. She keeps a variety of fertility species on her farm. She has 40 fully grown trees in a 2-acre land.