Trying to help those in SSA countries to have some food in bad times and some income in good times
In 2010 a UN report …….stated that global warming would result in increasing temperatures and decreasing rainfall and this would need the development of seeds to better tolerate these new conditions.
Such seeds are now being developed (CSA) but two problems seem to be ignored – farmers depleted soil and locust attacks! Many SSA countries have recently been afflicted by locusts, and other pests, due to the change in climate and attacks are expected to become even worse in the future!
In recent years a project was started to try and overcome the problem of the depleted soil of many small SSA farmers. Previous efforts to fertilize depleted soil have often failed due to farmers being expected to carry out operations that take no accounts of their situation!
Guided by the expert, Roland Bunch, Jack beans were sown all over the land of many subsistence farmers in Uganda. The following year maize and other crops were sown alongside the Jack beans.
After the first harvest, there were so many Jack bean seeds that some could be sold to buy local traditional plant seeds and leguminous saplings to start agro-ecological farms
Then disaster struck with heavy rainstorms and then locust attacks. Often the Jack beans were the only survivor! Many farmers reported heavy crop losses but their Jack beans were untouched!
But then many had no food - except for Jack Beans. It was known that mature Jack beans could be cooked but, equally important, leaves and pods of newly sown beans would provide protein - until food aid arrived.
We have shown that the sowing of cover crop bean can be used to not only re-fertilise soil but be used as an emergency crop in extreme conditions. This first success was in Uganda has led to many of the poorest farmers in other SSA countries also taking up the growing of Jack beans so as to re-fertilise their soil and provide emergency food at minimal cost!
Now there are hundreds of small farmers in Malawi, Zambia and dozens in other SSA countries. There could be many more but we can get no help!
With the increasing cost of 'improved' seeds, poor SSA subsistence farmers will be hard-pressed to buy their usual amount. They may have no choice but to rely on traditional/indigenous seeds in the future and not have too many locust attacks!
So far we have found few NGOs that even admit there is a soil fertility problem despite the FAO stating that it is a serious problem in all these countries
You will find our supporter Charles in Uganda giving a lesson about JB at;