Drive on, thrive on
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CTA. 2003. Drive on, thrive on. Spore 103. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/47867
Internet URL: http://spore.cta.int/images/stories/pdf/old/spore103.pdf
Lennox Wilson A. Chitonga of Kaphiri Kamodzi Farm near Mwanza in Malawi is a smart farmer. He tells of the transformation of one hectare of dry, useless land into thriving farmland. The farm is situated west of Middle Shire river. The area used to...
Lennox Wilson A. Chitonga of Kaphiri Kamodzi Farm near Mwanza in Malawi is a smart farmer. He tells of the transformation of one hectare of dry, useless land into thriving farmland. The farm is situated west of Middle Shire river. The area used to be uninhabited because it lies in the rain shadow of a mountain range and thus has limited rainfall. The farm was established on land abandoned by two previous occupants because of water stress. In the late 1990s Mr Chitonga carried out conservation work on the farm, including building 200 m of contours between 0.5 and 2 m high. Productivity rose from 0.75 t to 2.7 t per hectare. In 2000 another 90 m of contours were erected, demarcating plots of 30 by 30 m. The farmland is largely under the canopy of leguminous trees. All these measures have greatly increased the water-retention capacity of the soil, and the well now recharges more quickly . In 2001, a dimba (small water-holding dam) was constructed and another hectare of land brought under maize cultivation. Mr Chitonga applies the principles of permaculture and his farm has attracted a lot of new settlers to the area. The disadvantage is that half the forest has been logged for charcoal, but the advantage is that the criteria have been met for a population big enough for the government to sink a new well. People can, says Mr Chitonga, now have more than a sip.