Mr. Zilole Zulu
Mr. Zilole Zulu is a 44 year old farmer from Zilole Farms in chief Zingalume’s area in Chadiza district. Married with seven children, Mr. Zulu has been farming for a long time using the conventional farming methods of Ox ploughing and ridging.
It was not until 2016, that he heard about conservation farming when he visited a relative in Katete who was a CF ADP MT adopter. He immediately noticed the difference between his own crop back in Chadiza and his cousin’s crop which was clearly far much better than his. It dawned on him that this method of farming was worth trying. That same year he was able to attend the Agri-tech show at GART in Chisamba, where he again saw the CF MT practices being exhibited. The show reinforced his resolve to try out this new farming method.
The attempt to try ADP ripping almost died that first year. Zilole was put off by the price of rippers, and had little technical knowledge about how to do CF, having just heard a bit from his cousin, so he did not pursue it further. The following year, in 2017 he came across a CF training in a nearby village, just as it was finishing, so again he felt thwarted. Luckily for Zilole another CFU Farmer Coordinator Mr. Yona Banda visited him to find out why he was not practicing CF at his farm, and if there were ways that he (as the Farmer Coordinator) could be of help. Mr. Zulu told Yona that he had been wanting to do ripping but lacked a ripper. Yona offered his ripper to Mr. Zulu to try out. Zilole was so excited that he decided to go at it alone. In the field the ripper failed to rip as he did not know how to make necessary adjustments to allow the ripper reach the desired depth. He ran back to Yona, who came his aid showing him and demonstrating how to make needed adjustments for the ripper to attain the correct depth. From that point, Yona worked with Mr. Zulu from manure application, planting through to herbicide application. Luckily, his family was also behind supporting every effort.
Photo above showing Mr. Zulu demonstrating the difference in cob sizes from the CF plot (on his right) and the conventional field and the differences in general, between his CF ADP MT ripping plot and the ox ploughing and ridging plot.
Mr. Zulu decided to try out ADP ripping on a 30-line (rip) experimental plot to which he planted 10kg of maize. He applied glyphosate to control the first round of weeds before going in with hand hoes to control the follow-up weeds. He also established a section where he planted his crop on conventional ridges established with his oxen. He planted the maize on both sections of the plot on the same day on 25th November 2017 using the same variety of maize. Manure and fertilizers were applied to both plots.
Little did he know that 2017-2018 season would be one of the worst seasons in recent history for Chadiza which was hit by a 40-day dry spell lasting from around Christmas to first week of February. This is when he saw the real difference between ADP ripping and ploughing. His experimental plot of CF ADP MT completely out performed the rest of fields. It soon dawned on him that this experimental plot might provide a ‘life line’ to his family as the other sections of the field had was so severely affected by the dry spell with little or no hope of any harvest. From his 30 lines (10kg maize seed) of the CF plot he is expecting 40 – 50 x 50kgs of maize. After seeing these results, he is planning to increase the portion of his field allocated to CF MT. He also wants to buy his own ripper and attend all CF trainings through the Farmer Coordinator.