Friday, June 24, 2011

MACDONALD has a garden

Story by: Mercy Chakoma, Food Security & Nutrition Officer

Elephants are animals that make most people appreciate nature. However, for Macdonald Nyamayasauka who lives in Mkwatire village, Salima, elephants are what destroyed his crops.

In search of food elephants often wonder into people’s fields, especially during the times when food is scarce in the bush. Unfortunately, some people have even lost their lives to elephants during these “food raids”. It is hard to stop a hungry elephant and this is how Macdonald lost half of his maize crop last season. What he was left with was not enough to feed his wife and three children.

However, all was not lost for Macdonald when he found himself among several beneficiaries receiving cassava cuttings and trainings in improved farming from the Tsogolo Labwino project, funded by AusAid through ADRA Australia.

Macdonald received 2 bundles of cassava that eventually multiplied to 1 acre. To avoid elephant attacks on his field he planted his crops closer to his home in a homestead garden. Later he also received 2 bundles of sweet potato vines of which he planted in the homestead garden as well. After applying all his acquired knowledge and skills, the success of his homestead garden has relieved him from fears that he would not be able to feed his family.

These crops have not only provided food but have also provided him with income. With this extra money he can now buy basic needs such as soap, milling and salt. It was easy to see the joy this has brought him.

In the future Macdonald hopes to expand his garden even at the cost of coming across elephants. He is encouraging his fellow farmers not to give up but to keep trying other means of protecting their fields like making noise and lighting fires to scare the elephants. He also thanks ADRA for their help and wishes the same to extend to other needy people in different areas.

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