Uganda has been experiencing a prolonged drought that has devastated the country. According to the Uganda National Meteorological Authority, this is the worst drought in the country’s history with more than half of the population facing food shortages.
In Busoga Kingdom, where our farm is located, there are millions going hungry and the agriculture sector has been devastated. Many farmers grow maize (corn), and due to the drought over the previous two seasons, most have had little to no yield.
Many of these farmers are subsistence farmers who eat what they grow and survive off of their farms. These farmers have two seasons per year to grow their maize that takes 4-5 months to mature. The first season in 2016 provided little to no harvest due to the drought and the second season was even worse. This means that the farmers last received a maize harvest in January of 2016 from the second season in 2015. Providing that God allows the drought to end in the first season of 2017, they will get their next harvest in July/August. This means they will have gone 17-18 months between getting a maize harvest. This is what is causing people to die during this drought.
The traditional farming practices do not fare well in drought conditions due to plowing and burning off of crop residual and mulch. During good years, these farming practices produce average yields of 250 kilograms (552 pounds) per acre per season or 500 kilograms (1,102 pounds) per acre per year. The average family needs between 1,000 to 1,250 kilograms per year to survive. During drought years, traditional farming practices provide little to no yield.
Farming God’s Way provides excellent drought tolerance due to the fact that two of the technologies that we teach are no plowing and 100% mulch coverage. This allows farmers to keep more of the rainfall they receive and retain it for longer.
This season we were able to get 1,100 kilograms of maize per acre even though we went many weeks between rains and the rains we did receive were very small. This is very low compared to the first season of 2016 where we averaged 1,941 kilograms per acre and 2,500 kilograms per acre in 2015. However, this is very high compared to the average yield of conventional farming practices during good rainfall seasons of 250 kilograms per acre and certainly way better than the yield of zero kilograms most farmers received the previous two seasons.
Even during the worst drought in the history of Uganda we were able to get 3,041 kilograms per acre per year compared to the average during good seasons using traditional farming practices of 500 kilograms per acre per year. This is also more than the requirements of a typical family of 6 of 1,00 to 1,250 kilograms. This means that even during the worst drought in Uganda, farmers would have enough food to feed their family and enough left over to sell to be able to send their children to school, pay for medical treatment, and provide their family with better shelter and clothing.
Farming God’s Way is great during normal rainfall years, but is life-changing and life-saving during drought conditions! One farmer near our farm was trained by our farm manager, Alex, and was able to get 150 kilograms on a small plot of land. He said it was more than he had ever received on that land, even during a drought!
Farming God’s Way provides great yields and is certainly beneficial to farmers, but the best benefits of Farming God’s Way are the Biblical keys which are integral to the program. This allows us to share the Gospel and disciple these farmers. Farming God’s Way is saving farmers, both physically and eternally!