Mr Marima, Mr Chipfunde and pupils in maize field
Mr Marima is a grade 6 teacher from St Johns primary school in Murewa district. Mr Marima has been teaching at this school for 5years and he has always had a passion for farming although he never produced anything worth mentioning. Mr Marima has his own small garden in his backyard which he uses for growing vegetables and maize during the rainy season. Mr Marima lives within the school premises therefore space is limited to expand his garden.
When Foundations for Farming (FfF) invited two teachers from the school to attend training in 2014, he immediately volunteered to attend as he always had the hunger and passion to learn more about farming as he grew up in more of a rural setup and farming was the family’s main source of income. Mr Marima and Mr Chipfunde attended a four day training at Foundations for Farming and for the first time he said “his eyes were opened’’. After the training Mr Marima started implementing some Conservation Agriculture (CA) concepts in his small garden i.e. minimal soil disturbance and mulching. Miraculously the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education (MoPSE) announced that Agriculture was to be introduced into primary schools as an examinable subject which encouraged Mr Marima as he introduced his class fully to the concepts of CA which up until now he had only been able to do during their Environmental lessons.
Mr Marima asked the school administration to support the initiative by allocating the pupils a piece of land to implement the theory into pratcice. The school already has a piece of land which is about half an acre where the school has been growing maize in previous years. Unfortunately the school never got more than 400kg of maize from this piece of land since they started farming on the plot. This discouraged the school as they committed the little resources they had but harvested very little.
In the 2014-2015 agricultural season, Mr Marima and Mr Chipfunde implemented what they had been taught (CA principles) by FfF on the piece of land they were allocated and the change they have experienced is amazing. They were able to use fewer resources in planting their field (Pfumvudza plot) and on just 0.15 of a Hectare (624m²) the teachers and their pupils were able to harvest just over 400kg of maize from their Pfumvudza plot only. This is more than a 3-fold increase in crop yield! The school administration had never thought that such a small plot could produce a higher maize yield than the larger plot they used to farm on. This has really encouraged the teachers and the pupils. Therefore this season they are planning to grow both maize and beans. After this experience the school administration as well as other staff members have embraced this initiative and are eager to start practicing it in their own fields.
"The maize yield from the schools Pfumvudza plot is expected to improve this season if the rains are favourable. Other than that the teachers are more than willing to see this system of farming being practiced in the entire community as it really is a panacea to food insecurity & poverty’’, said Mr Marima.
ZET invites you to support training for more teachers like Mr Marima in Conservation Agriculture. Thank you for your donations.
St Johns 2014-2015 season Pfumvudza plot
Mr Marima & Chipfunde in harvested Pfumvudza plot
Mr Marima showing FfF team their old compost pile