Mr Smart Banda
All eyes are on Mr. Banda’s field which has good crop in an area that experienced 37-day dry spell from the 24th of December to the 5th of February. A 50-year-old man, Mr. Smart Banda a husband and father of eight children resides in Moffati village which is about 17km away from Vubwi central district. Having been a conventional farmer for many years, he decided to try CF last year, after first receiving training through the CFU and becoming a Farmer Coordinator. While he had heard about the use of Hand Hoe Basins from other organizations, he had not received any formal training, and never heard about it the use of ADP (oxen) ripping till he received formal trainings from the CFU on both CF Hand Hoe and ADP Minimum Tillage.
Mr. Banda started with a hectare, and did both ripping and hand hoe basins planting 15kg and 10 kg of maize seed in each plot respectively. Although it was his first time to practice ADP ripping, his oxen are well trained and as such didn’t experience much difficulties in making rip lines. His wife and children were told how to plant in rip lines and basin, and they did a good job.
As he explained how his wife feels about CF, this ‘system of farming is easy and simple because it involves less work especially during weeding. There is no need of going in with hoes over and over like we used to do in conventional system, but you just use herbicides which is fast and easy.’
‘For me, CF is a good farming system because when we planted, the crop emergence was good, and crop stand was equally good as you can see by the size of the cobs and am expecting more than 100bags by 50kg from the 25kgs of maize seed I planted.’
‘Having this good crop is because I prepared myself. I bought the seed and fertilizers in time and did my land preparation early, which made me plant with first rains in November 2017. I applied all fertilizes in good time. If I was to wait for FSIP, I would have been in the same situation like many others who waited for it, and their crop tussled without any fertilizer at knee height (prematurely).’
He went on to say that ‘my fellow farmers who didn’t believe in the trainings they received from CFU are now surprised with the way my crop is doing and many farmers are showing interest in doing conservation farming this coming season because of what they are seeing. I have come to love this farming system and this coming season I want to expand my CF field to 5 hectares and plant different crops.’
Finally, Mr. Banda feels that ‘all in all CF does well when you prepare yourself, as a farmer do land preparation early, buy the farming inputs on time and make sure you manage the weeds on time then you expect more yields.’