NAPDZ teaches farmers to (mulch) cover their crops with dry leaves and grass, which captures the moisture in the soil. Coupled with early planting methods this helps maintain moisture in the soil so that the plants continue to grow and protect them from drought.
Mulching varies from soil to soil, crop to crop, and from one agro-ecological region to another. One major reason is, it's effective for controlling erosion. Mulching forms a basis for conservation farming because it conserves water, prevents erosion, maintains organic matter content at a high level, and sustains economic productivity. In addition, retaining crop residues on the soil surface with conservation tillage reduces evapotranspiration, increases infiltration rates, and suppresses weed growth. The overall goal of mulching is to increase crop production while conserving resources (soil and water) and protecting the environment.
The benefits of mulching are:
These benefits together result in increased and sustained crop yields. Natural Agriculture focuses on mulching both after planting and after harvesting. Mulching after harvest is important because it reduces top soil erosion and the plants and stalks used for mulching after harvest are used as natural compost and turned over into the soil during planting, which increases the high nutrient levels in the soil.
By teaching seed harvesting methods farmers do not need to buy seed to grow the following season, making it cost effective for poor rural farmers. The indigenous seed is resilient and adaptable to changing weather patterns. The seed saving training is done in April/May. Farmers harvest the Natural Agriculture demonstration maize field. The trainer takes them through the seed collection and storage process.
OTHER BENEFITS OF MULCHING AND NATURAL AGRICULTURE:
Traditional knowledge is continually shaping new adaptation strategies at the local level to address new climate realities e.g. planting earlier or later in the season exciting your business offers? Say it here.
The Natural Agriculture Show allows local clubs and community participation The main event is the display of Natural Agriculture produce, which creates an opportunity for the project members to educate the community about the benefits of Natural Agriculture farming.
The Natural Agriculture Show also includes the participation of traditional and local leaders such as Chief, Headmen, the Mayor and members of parliament to attend the event as guests of honor. Councilors and government conservation officers are also actively involved in the event as judges for the selection of the best produce and community performances.
In August 2015 NADPZ in partnership with Shumei international built and opened a small community school for the children of the Pemba farmers in the rural area of Mambo Ward, Pemba Constituency Zambia.
With the financial support of Shumei International and Shumei America and the community contribution of making bricks, collecting river sand and building sand as well as water for building, one classroom was built and equipped with desks, chairs, books, posters and teachers stationary. The school enrolled 30 children aged 4 – 5 years old.
To date the school has increased to 4 classrooms with 120 students attending the school from Reception to Grade 4.
Natural Agriculture is included in the school curriculum, the students are part of watering their vegetable garden and fruit trees and the School has started a feeding program, which provides the students with a meal once a day. The
The aim to grow the school to secondary level education and aim to provide the top students with scholarships to Zambian universities and colleges with the hope that they will return to the same rural community and use their knowledge to invest in the growth and development of that community.
NADPZ welcomes all visitors to all its agriculture centres. it is an opportunity for visitors to learn about regenerative agriculture and the impact these types of agricultural practices have on the local communities.
The visitors will have an opportunity during their visit to interact with the farmers and their families as well as local leaders. They will also have a chance to take part in the practical planting process of Natural Agriculture.
NADPZ provides opportunities for international volunteers to come and teach a variety of skills to the small-scale women farmers and youth of Mbabala, Pemba and Chikanta constituencies of Zambia. NADPZ has a community school in Pemba, which is a great site to interact with our school children aged 4 - 11 years old. In January 2020 NADPZ will also be opening its new technical training center that will be providing a variety of vocational skills to out of school youth with natural agriculture being a central focus skill.
NADPZ has received a number of invitations and applications to replicate the Natural Agriculture program and model in other parts and provinces of Zambia, and other parts of Africa.
Since its inception NADPZ has implemented and replicated the Natural Agriculture practice in Malawi, Tanzania and the Gambia.
10 YEARS OF NATURAL AGRICULTURE IN ZAMBIA