Nkgono Jane says...
Sometimes we forget how farming started – people need to feed themselves and food can be produced from land. It was the need to produce food that started farming. These days, farmers are removed from growing their own food. Recently while visiting some of the farmers in the Jobs Fund project (from Subsistence to Abundance project), we were reminded about how important it is for these farmers to produce food for their families (primary function) and then to sell the surplus.
Thinking about growing food, brings ones closer to thinking about food and nutrition. What do people need to eat? What is a balanced diet? This of course brings us to a discussion on food groups (source of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, minerals) and the various crops that can be produced to satisfy these nutritional needs. Once we understand human nutrition then we can also start to think about animal nutrition – what to feed our poultry, goats, sheep, cattle and pigs. They all need a balanced diet and using our land, we can produce what they require.
We are planning to include a series of articles on nutrition (of humans and animals) so that we can all go back to the basics of farming – feeding ourselves and the domesticated animals that feed us.
We have been to visit a large number of the subsistence farmers in the programme – this year they are all achieving commercial yields (from 5 t/ha to 10 t/ha of maize all under dryland conditions). Seeing these achievements has made us realise that we have achieved our goals with these farmers – the goal of commercial production on the land that the farmer has available. Now we need to look into helping the farmers with improved mechanisation so that they can plant more land and contribute to our national food security.
This month it is NAMPO – I do hope that many of you will be coming to the show. Please come and look for us – we will be there.
Publication: May 2017