Practical Action have prepared a field report on a small scale solution delivering big results in areas where low rainfall, drought and cyclones have led to severe hardship. Pfumvudza (“New Season”) is a special method of agriculture that enables a family of six to feed themselves for a year with maize using an area half the size of an Olympic swimming pool, divided into 52 rows. Each row will provide one bucket of maize. The plants are put into small pot holes that trap water, with the addition of compost and mulch, and harvested rainwater.
One mother of three reports: “Before the training [in conservation agriculture], I could barely feed my family but now I am harvesting an average of three tonnes of maize on a smaller piece of land than I used to grow.” “From my first year of using Pfumvudza as a way of farming, and demonstrating it to others in the village, my crops never failed. The rainfall was erratic as usual but we got a good harvest.”