NKGONO JANE SAYS...
Planting season has started in earnest and I am sure that you are almost too busy to read the Pula! How blessed you are to be in a position to grow food for your family and for your country.
We had our Day of Celebration at the end of September and what a wonderful opportunity it was to honour those who have achieved so much at all the different levels. No one is too small or too big to achieve greatness – it is within us all to use our talents to the very best of our ability.
The summer crops that you are planting now are very sensitive to weed competition. We say this every year, but I believe that we should say it again – weeds are your enemy. If you control the weeds in your fields then you are so much more likely to harvest a good crop – don’t allow the weeds to eat the food and drink the water that you have planned to give to your crop.
I hope that this year you will all be looking at other ways to increase your income from your land. What have you got, or what could you offer to the local (and national) market? Maize is a great crop to grow but we also need to think of growing other crops in rotation with the maize. It is so important to know the market – if you are in the deep rural areas without access to good markets – what are your neighbours buying that you could perhaps supply them? Dry beans are always a good option as they are known locally and are an excellent source of protein.
Livestock are important to farmers – they can help you stabilise your business so that you are not so vulnerable to the weather. Even very small farmers, you can keep some poultry and small stock which you can feed on your surplus maize (now that you are producing so well). By feeding maize to your livestock, you will improve on their production and you will be able to sell them to your neighbours as well.
Farmers are also business people – growing the crop is the first step, but it is just the beginning of a long journey. What can you grow to make more money, and to whom are you planning to sell that which you are growing?
I wish you all a good season with great rewards for your hard work and perseverance – be Blessed!
Publication: November 2018