Friday
Dec 05
2014
December 5, 2014

Lucy Banda

Smallholder Farmer, Anchor Farm Project

How New Farming Techniques Are Helping Me

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I first learned about the Anchor Farm in 2012 after a visit to a friend’s field. It was just before harvest. Upon walking through her field I noticed how strong, healthy, and productive her maize and soya crops were. She told me about the project, and how it had helped her improve her crop yields. I wanted to have healthier crops too. It was then that I joined the project. Lustia, the field officer who works for the Clinton Development Initiative in my village, has taught me to use new farming techniques to help improve my soil, make my land more productive, and increase yields of my crops.
 
After the second growing season with the Anchor Farm Project, my annual production of maize increased to sixty 50 kg bags and my annual soya bean harvest to thirty-seven 50 kg bags, which has increased my yearly income from $50 to $750. 
 
Before joining the Anchor Farm Project, I produced about twenty-two 50 kg bags of maize and four to six 50 kg bags of soya beans each year. After the second growing season with the Anchor Farm Project, my annual production of maize increased to sixty 50 kg bags and my annual soya bean harvest to thirty-seven 50 kg bags, which has increased my yearly income from $50 to $750. Now, with this extra income, I have been able to build a new house and purchase a solar panel that brings light into my home, which enables my children to study at night. After the second growing season with the Anchor Farm Project, my income increased further, and I was able to buy an ox cart – one of only seven ox carts in my village of more than 500 people.  I also bought one full-grown ox to draw the cart, and one younger ox, which will soon be old enough to draw the cart too. 
 
This year, I hope to increase my soya production, finish my house by pouring a concrete floor to replace my current dirt floor, and buy a vehicle. 
 
This year, I hope to increase my soya production, finish my house by pouring a concrete floor to replace my current dirt floor, and buy a vehicle. Having a vehicle will help me and others in my village access markets to buy and sell goods and reach hospitals for health care. I now serve as secretary of my local farmers’ club which hosts demonstrations of new farming techniques, so I can help other farmers improve their crops and incomes so they can better support their families too.