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Nkgono Jane says...

October 2017

The United Nations is concerned about the welfare of all people. Some years ago you will recall that they developed Millennium Goals which were aimed at finding solutions to the problems of the world. These expired in 2015 and they subsequently developed what is known as the Sustainable Development Goals of which there are 17. Goal No 2 of the Sustainable Development goals is ‘Zero Hunger’.

For some people, hunger is not one of the challenges they face, but for many people in the world, this is a daily challenge – not having enough food and going to bed hungry.

In quite of few of the previous editions of Pula Imvula, we have mentioned the possible reasons for you to be farming. It could be just to grow food for yourself, or to grow for yourself and sell a small surplus, or it could be to become a commercial farmer and produce mainly for the market.

Depending on your reason for farming, you need to decide on how much land you need to plant to meet your requirements. If you are only planting for your own use, how much maize do you require for the year? Is one ton enough for you and your household? The improved technology on seed and crop management, farmers are attaining very high yields – up to 10 t/ha under dry land conditions. If you only need one ton and you are in an area that produces ten tons on a hectare, you do not need to plant a hectare – one quarter of a hectare would be more than enough to provide for your needs even in a poorer year.

One hectare covers 10 000 square meters (100 m x 100 m). You might need to do some calculations to make sure that you are only planting what you need.

On the other hand, if you are planning to market your excess produce, then the more you plant the better. It is very important to remember however that you should only plant what you can afford to do properly – with the good seed, adequate fertiliser and good weed control. Often farmers are tempted to plant a large area (larger than they can afford) and then they do not use enough fertiliser – this is a disaster because you will have high costs and a very low income. It is far better to plant a smaller area and get a good harvest than to plant a large area and get a poor harvest.

I hope that by the time you read this Pula Imvula, you will have had your first rains and that you will be planting. We truly hope that this will also be a good production year. Best wishes!

Publication: October 2017

Section: Pula/Imvula