On the 3rd of November 2017 we went to the village of Mchinji to have a look at agriculture in the village. We met a farmer called Kambale who is 47 years old. He has been winter cropping for 7 years and using the rope and washer pump since he bought it in August. Prior to that, he was using a watering can from a shallow well – which limited how far he could irrigate and for how long and was very tiring. Now with the new pump, Kambale says that irrigation is easier and is much more productive, as he can water farther and for longer with much less effort.
He found out about the rope and washer pump as he is a member of the Vibrant Village CBCC committee. He saw the photos of the pump in Kasungu and thought he would like to bring it to Mchinji to help with his crop. Kambale was able to self-fund the purchase as he had some bags of soya to sell which paid for the pump.
Since using the pump, extra yield is noticeable and provides opportunities for him and his children. Before, he was doing winter harvest but lower yield, which meant that it was just enough to meet school fees (he has 2 children still at secondary school at 10,500 MKW/term). Kambale knows that better education leads to better opportunities and is determined to make sure he makes enough profit to send his children to school. With the rope and washer pump he expects to yield extra 180,000 MKW this harvest alone which is much more than cost of the pump.
With this extra money, he can look beyond school fees as he can now buy seeds and fertiliser for his farm and get better clothes and basic household supplies. He currently grows maize, tomatoes, rape and onion – but plans to grow cabbage and more maize.
Next year he plans to purchase extra fertilizer and equipment to help expand his plot, with further expansion in mind for the following year.