Nkgono Jane says...
In this issue of the Pula Imvula is an article on eating a balanced diet. This is a very important aspect to farming – we produce food for ourselves and the nation, but we and our livestock eat too! It is crucial that humans and the animals we keep (cattle, sheep, goats, pigs and poultry) eat a balanced diet – in a nutshell, we need starch (carbohydrates), protein and fats (without going into too much detail).
Keeping livestock is part of most farming enterprises. Apart from supplying the market, keeping your own cattle, sheep and chickens can provide you with a ready source of good food (milk, meat and eggs) and these are very important in the diets of particularly children as they are growing and developing. Let us try to remember that farming started as a way of feeding your family and after that the surplus was sold – now we look at selling everything and buying food. We can also grow good and balanced food for ourselves and our families.
As farmers, we usually concentrate on growing the grains and cereals and this is great because this makes up the largest part of our diets. Feeding maize into livestock will enable the livestock to work for you as they provide you with meat and milk (both good sources of protein). We also need proteins in our diet and we should therefore also be growing pulse beans and soybeans (for own use and also for the market).
Growing vegetables for own use is something that we would like to encourage you to do – we all need to eat fresh fruit and vegetables and generally you can grow this for own use around your house. Not only will you be saving money, but you will also have access to very fresh and seasonal produce. Growing vegetables commercially is usually much more challenging as much of this has to be transported in refrigerated trucks – it can be very profitable but is usually done under irrigation and unfortunately most of our farmers do not have access to irrigation.
It is September already and some of you might have received the first rains – what a blessing that we can know that the rains will come and you will be able to plant a summer crop. Please remember that you have to do your best to ensure a good crop – you cannot determine the rain but everything else is in your hands. Do your best and encourage all those around you to do their best too – together we can feed ourselves and feed our nation.
Publication: September 2017