ASAP field officers are always in touch with their clients sharing skills and knowledge on conservation farming techniques that will help these subsistence farmers increase yields without increasing farm input costs. With the help of our generous donors, they have recently distributed 80,000 sweet potato seedlings which have been planted in preparation for the rainy season. Now is the time for soil preparation, planning and planting - depending on the crop. Normally the skies open and the rains begin during October in Zimbabwe.
Emphasis is now on improving the soil using natural methods such as cutting the maize stalks and letting them remain in the field as natural compost or plant a cover crop after harvest. This enriches the soil a little each year and makes it more water absorbent. ASAP is pleased with he progress of this project.
In March 2010, when the FAO (Farm & Agriculture Organization - a UN agency) made Sweet Potato seedlings available to humanitarian organizations in Zimbabwe at no cost - ASAP seized this opportunity. Thanks to those of you who have supported this project, to help families grow food, ASAP was able to act quickly. Times are tough world-wide so most organizations did not have funds available. With your help, ASAP was able to make 80,000 seedlings available to our Kufusa Mari ISL savings club members in rural Zimbabwe
Unfortunately, drip irrigation kits have not been available in Zimbabwe. ASAP has been holding these project funds until the situation in the country normalizes. With presidential elections upcoming in 2011, the delay may be long and torturous. In an effort to help families feed their children now, ASAP Zimbabwe recommended this as the best way to help these families. Please contact us if you would like to ensure that your donation is used 100% for drip irrigation kits and we will earmark these funds and let you know when these kits become available.
Those of you who follow ASAP on Facebook know from Regai Tsunga, (ASAP's Zimbabwe Country Director), that the rains finally arrived in Zimbabwe last week. Crops are devastated and this is a national crisis. Yet, families with drip irrigation in place still managed to harvest some crops. The time is now to help those suffering in Zimbabwe and help them produce crops throughout the year.
ASAP has decrease the number of drip kits for this project to 50 from 100 so we can reach our goal sooner and provide this much needed help.
Our sincere thanks for all those folks who have already contributed to this worthy project. Much has already been taught to these 100 families in regards to proper soil preparation and the use of permaculture in planting a successful home garden. We expect this training to empower these families to increase the size of the crop and allow them to grow a healthier garden. This training has had a huge impact on small farmers in our Malawi project and we expect no less for the Zimbabwe families.
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