Post Tagged with: "subsistence"

Struggles of a Small Farmer in Zambia

You certainly won’t need an umbrella in South-West Zambia outside the month of January. While many places in Africa have plentiful rainfall and lush soils (central Uganda for instance), many rural farmers, after only one brief rainy season each year, must attempt to cultivate enough food for their families in extremely dry and sweltering conditions. This means that families have only one small window of opportunity to grow food and sell any surplus to earn income. Often that window is not great enough to last the entire year, and so not only does poverty persist, but something even more brutal occurs: hunger.  Most of us who would read this entry have never experienced true hunger. Perhaps we’ve had to go without lunch because we were too busy at the office.  However, true hunger is a reality for the people of this area of Zambia, most of whom survive on cornmeal porridge[…]

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Back to the Farm

Get this: 80% of Burkina Faso’s population attempts to make it’s living in subsistence agriculture while only 19% of land is arable.  That makes farming kind of like a guy getting a date in a country where men outnumber women four to one.  Poor soil qualities, fluctuations in rainfall, and topsoil erosion all contribute to the country’s crop production woes.  Recent work is displayed here from the Millennium Challenge Corporation’s agricultural programs in Burkina Faso. MCC, a humanitarian arm of the US State Department, is boosting production and access to markets for small farmers in this West African country, however.  The programs shown here document the organization’s efforts in sustainable agriculture, livestock vaccination, fertilizers, and agro-forestry, as well as ground-breaking, innovative initiatives.  In the Market Information Systems program, agents use cell phone technology to publish regional market prices for a variety of commodities.  Farmers who subscribe to the database can[…]

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