Property Name: Mbilima Farm
Goal: 400 trees
Location: , MUMENA, , Zambia
About Our FarmGood morning. My name is Mervis Mbilima and I represent small-scale farmers from Zambia. All we are trying to achieve is to be able to make living and support our families from farming as it is not just our job but also our heritage, and at the same time work together to face new challenges brought to us by the climate change. Our crops get destroyed and we know that we need to improve the environment to farm successfully. I have a small farm near Mongu, the provincial town of the Western province in Zambia, and I together with my fellow farmers in Zambia grow maize which is used to make a flour to cook our staple meal nshima. We keep the produce we need for our own food and we sell the rest to the milling companies or to the government so we can buy other things for our homes and send our children to schools. Farming in Zambia is strongly connected to our family life. We work at our farms with our relatives and children as we are trying to teach them how important it is to treat your land well because all we get in our lives comes from our land. Our fathers were the ones who thought us the real value of land and environment we are using and living in and now it is on us to continue in their legacy to develop the farms that they left for us. It is our way of life and none of us can imagine starting doing something different. We are very close to our soil, and we know that our lives are dependent on it. So we are trying to take care of our soil as much as we can. But it is not an easy life, we must work very hard, and in the past years we have been fighting unpredictable weather and bad harvests more than ever. We would like to make changes that will enable our children and our entire communities to be more successful farmers without facing so many struggles.
Every farmer in Zambia remembers that every field in their childhood used to be surrounded by a forest. We understood how the forest was important for our lives and our farming. It wasn’t just a good hiding place from the very strong sun of the Western province. The trees around our fields made sure that the rainwater was kept in the soil longer. They would also give us a lot of fruits that we could eat or collect for the women of the families to go and sell at the market to make some extra income for the family. Almost no farm in Zambia has any forests left around now. We don’t even have a few grown trees. We are forced to watch how most of the trees are being cut illegally to burn char coal for cooking. There are only shrubs left and nobody is stopping it, not knowing how dangerous it is for the environment. Our soil is not getting enough water and nutrients. Our children almost don’t eat fruits because without fruit trees around they are too expensive to buy. As farmers we want to make sure our children that are our successors get to see the same forests again on the farms and that they get all the advantages of healthy environment. We are ready to plant trees that will give our soil a lot of nitrogen that will support our harvests. They will also keep the soil moist so even if we must fight bad droughts lately because of the climate change, our crops will still survive. We want to plant fruit trees, so our children have better nutrition, eating a lot of vitamins. And if every farm has an extra produce of different fruits from trees, it will help us to secure another source of income for our houselholds from selling the fruits at the markets which we can invest back into development of our farms.