Mary S. joined the Luanshya project in 2018, together with her husband Solomon, who is a beekeeper. A hardworking and determined farmer, Mary joined the nursery and plant propagation training. She realized it would be a good way of making a living and that is exactly what she is doing today. Thanks to the support of WeForest, she now has some 2,000 lemon, 5 avocado, 30 pawpaw, 35 granadilla and 30 mandarin seedlings for sale. To top it off, Mary was awarded WeForest's title of Best Performing Farmer!
A farmer to follow
Anne S. has been actively involved in the Luanshya project since March 2019 and recently attended a training on how to set up a nursery. When we visited her nursery afterward to see how she was doing, Anne's enthusiasm and dedication surprised us all. Within 2 months she had managed to not only set up her nursery, but approximately 1,000 seedlings had already germinated! We can't wait for Anne to attend the next training which will be on plant propagation.
“We all have a part to play”
Mbewe B. joined the WeForest training sessions in 2018 and developed a keen interest in fruit tree propagation as a way to diversify his income. That way he is able to pay for his child’s school fees. “We all have a part to play in protecting and growing our farm forests”, he told us. “And we can all make a real and tangible difference: anyone can come up with their own nursery regardless of gender and age. We can easily forget charcoal production.”
The Luanshya project runs all year. In January vegetation surveys are conducted to assess the region. In the same month fruit trees are planted, and again in August and September. In December pine and fruit trees are planted.
In the same month, the process of Assisted Natural Regeneration (ANR) starts with a restoration.
There’s a break in March – when farmer training takes place – and picks back up in April and May when ANR-mapping is done. Then it continues up until August as well as in October.
Training activities are an important aspect of this project and besides farmer training, women's nursery training is done in September and extensionist services or farmer education in October.
In the first year of beekeeping, there is nothing to harvest yet and starting from the second year honey harvesting is done in June, July, and November.
Fruit trees provide a welcome addition to the income of many families across our project site in Zambia. Through their participation in trainings they learn how to take care of nurseries and sell fruit tree seedlings, as well as graft fruit trees and they learn how to take care of mature trees and receive the best harvest possible.
For example, Mbewe B. joined the WeForest ANR trainings in 2018 and developed a keen interest in fruit tree propagation as a way to diversify income and be able to pay for his kids´ school fees. In his own words: ´we all have a part to play in protecting and growing our farm forests and we can all make a real and tangible difference: anyone can come up with his or her own nursery regardless of gender and age so we can easily forget charcoal production.´
A popular fruit is the sweet Parinari curatellifolia. During the end of the dry reason, when resources are scarce, farmers rely heavily on these and other fruit for food and income revenue. There is a wealth of nutritional and medicinal plants that can be harvested by farmers from the Miombo woodlots just like this one.
This way, the farmers in the Zambian area of Luanshya are literally picking the fruits from restoring planting trees.
In Zambia we are engaging with more than 800 small-scale families to change their dependency on charcoal production for cooking or earning an income. For example through forestry training, beehives and trainings on permaculture or plant nursery, to diversify their skills.
One of those small-scale farmers is Agness T, who joined us in 2017 after retiring as a nurse. She first attended training on plant nursery and now started her own home-based nursery. Especially her orange trees are doing great, and the upcoming harvest will add to her current income. She also has five beehives, of which four are currently occupied, so even more income from honey is on its way.
Finneas and Rita M. are another example of farmers that take the new practices learnt at their hearts. They organised their land very well, with a successful nursery and various livestock positioned around their central home, making management easy and effective. They also recently added five beehives and soon they will start reaping the benefits from this as well.
Farmers in Zambia, as in many other countries in Africa, often cause deforestation as trees are generally the only way for them to cook or earn an extra income through charcoal production. It is therefore that WeForest is engaging with more than 800 small-scale farmer families to change this and to find ways that farmers can make a little extra money with the use of the trees, without the need to chop them down. One of these farmers is Maggie.
After following a plant nursery training course at WeForest training center, Maggie started to grow fruit tree seedlings from seeds in her own nursery in her garden, grafting and selling them. She also engaged in developing a permaculture garden with the support of WeForest.
During a recent visit she says: ´Thanks to the WeForest training and equipment they provided, I’ve now learnt a valuable skill that I can bring into practice without investing or losing out on other sources of income. I hope to expand my nursery and permaculture as more people buy my products.´
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