DON’T GIVE UP TRYING TO DO IT RIGHT: STEWARD SIAPAPALA
Steward Siapalala, is a CF farmer in Itezhi-Tezhi district under Shimukuwaila village of Chief Kaingu. Steward was a conventional farmer since childhood and his yields were ranging between 40 to 45 bags x 50Kgs in a good year and 15 to 23 bags x 50Kg in a bad year.
When conservation farming was introduced to him in 2012 by the Ministry of Agriculture, he never liked it – he thought it was for poor people. He thought of trying it using the Magoye ripper which he bought at Magoye research station but the results were very poor because he had no knowledge about the technology, and by then the use of herbicides were not pronounced in the area. Disliking the technology, he abandoned his Magoye ripper for some years, taking it to be a waste of time to rip because he thought it came with too many challenges, including weeds..
When conservation farming was re-introduced to him by the CFU in conjunction with the UNDP, he thought of trying it again because the trainings he received were slightly different from those he had received before. He attended all the three Periodical training in 2017 ranging from Land Preparation, Basal nutrient application and seeding of all crops, weed and integrated pest management. He used oxen (ADP) ripping and planted 1 Ha maize and 1.5 Ha of soya beans.
Steward Siapalala in maize and soyabean fields, which were prepared using ox ripping
Despite being a very difficult season all in extremes of dry spells, army worms and excessive rains, Stewart has the reason to rejoice because the crop estimate as at now stands at 100 to 170 x 50Kgs bags of maize per hectare, while Soyabeans are at 80 to 100 bags x 50Kgs. This is his first time he is planting Soyabeans after receiving the trainings on benefits of crop rotation. He also did 1ha of maize under conventional tillage using ADP ploughing. To his surprise, there was a very distinct difference inspite of the inputs being applied equally. The evidence is clear in these pictures:
The yields from his conventional maize field are being estimated at 28 x 50Kgs bags per hectare. Stewart vows never to go back to the conventional way of farming but to continue with CF for it has saved his time, labour, money and also health. He has realized it’s a cheaper yet more profitable way of doing farming. During the dry spell which hit the area for six (6) weeks, his maize in ADP ripping never wilted while that one in an ADP ploughing used to wilt a lot and the chances of recovering were very slim. Stewart Siapalala is hosting one of the areas’ major field day by the end of the month for the first time in his life.