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Learning to farm again

By Andrew Horton | 11 Oct 2019

Victoria hums softly to herself as she carefully fills her watering can. The Malawian grandmother has a flourishing vegetable garden. And she can now plant and harvest all year round, thanks to the training she received from Tearfund’s local partner.

But life hasn’t always been so good for the 68-year-old. Before the training, Victoria and her husband had been using traditional farming methods, which were proving to be a challenge.

‘I used to plant maize and groundnuts,’ says Victoria. ‘But after putting in all our energy and efforts, we would end up harvesting only five bags of groundnuts and ten bags of maize.

‘Often we did not have enough to feed our family for the whole year.’

Meanwhile, Victoria’s husband developed a debilitating back condition that meant he couldn’t help on the farm.

Helping themselves
In 2016, Tearfund partner, Assemblies of God Care (AG Care), introduced what’s known as the Church and Community Transformation (CCT) approach in Victoria’s village.

As a result of CCT training, communities discover the resources and abilities they already have. In time, they find new ways to help themselves to get out of poverty. ‘AG Care showed us how we can make our own low-cost fertiliser, which I can tell you has increased the yield of my farm,’ says Victoria.

A good harvest
‘In 2018, in the same space where [in the past] I harvested only five bags of groundnuts and ten bags of maize, I got 20 bags of maize and 25 bags of groundnuts! The harvest was so big that I was able to sell the surplus and buy iron sheets to help build a new house.

‘I bought goats and chickens which I regularly sell to pay school fees for my grandchildren.’

She also learnt about ‘winter cropping’ which gives insights into how best to plant during the off-season.

Praise God, Victoria now feels like she is set up to provide for her family – all year round and for many years to come.

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Written by

Photo of Andrew Horton

Written by Andrew Horton

Andrew is Online News and Film Editor for Tearfund. This involves finding and writing up inspiring articles for the website, and capturing compelling stories on video.