First Monday – Lusangazi Farm
At first Wells for Zoë was just involved in pumps and water for life, but as time went by new projects began. For example, they discovered that they couldn’t buy open pollinated seeds in Mzuzu or even in the Capital Lilongwe, so they started developing a conservation, organic system of farming in their own farm. Lusangazi Farm was bought in 2006 and is about 11 km from WfZ headquarters in Mzuzu City.
In the last 12 years this has become a heaven of Malawian native seeds and plants. It began with organic farming without usage of artificial fertilisers or chemical crop protection, then they moved to agroforestry and now a system they call Climate Smart Agriculture.
Upon arrival we immediately were surrounded by people who greeted us with a smile. Everyone was waiting for the “helicopter” (photography drone) with anxiety, so the first thing we did was to take some aerial photos. We were surprised that the farm was so big, and considering how much work it is to maintain a farm only with manual labour it was really impressive to see the different plantation areas and the methods that are used. They grow about 100 varieties of plants on an area of about six acres: trees, fruits, vegetables and over 50,000 pine tree-seedlings for planting in the rainy season beginning in January. A speciality of Lusangazi Farm is that they grow plants used for pest control and plants used for nitrogen fixation. And all this is done by… sixteen Malawian amazing men and women, with only primary school education ¡Awesome!
Remembering that moment makes me smile as they were astonished to see that volatile gadget. Imagine them jumping and shouting “I see it, it’s there”– pointing at it. It was funny because when it disappeared and was out of sight they were so worried that it would have been lost and we would not find it again.
Luzangazi Farm has greenhouses where mangoes and other plants are put while they grow until they can be grafted or budded.
Here we see a creative arrangement for pest-control in the greenhouse. Actually they make their own ecological pesticide and spray the plants every week. As the piece of land is very big, it takes 3 days to have the whole place sprayed. Furthermore now they plan to plant tephrosia in between some trees to use the space and also to use it as fertiliser.
Wells for Zoë has been thankful to their donors and keep them up-to-date with pictures as to what their money has achieved, sending them GPS locations and more recently links to co-ords on Google Maps. The idea is that as a charity they want every incoming Euro to be visible and accounted for. It was a pleasure to see the first Irish apple on our first day on the farm. As apples are quite expensive in Mzuzu it is a good investment to grow them.
The farm couldn’t be better organised using every inch productively. Adamson showed us the whole farm. We walked around enjoying and seeing all plants that already have fruits; pineapple, apples, strawberry, bananas, carrots, salad, eggplants, cabbage… Some of the food produced is used to provide a hot meal for the 182 Girl Child Students who Wells for Zoë bring in for extra tuition on Saturdays. Some food is sold at the local market and some trees and seedlings are sold to local schools or farmers.
So we went back home full of good vibrations and ecological products as well – THANKS!
Looks like everything was a dream until last July, when the President announced that he was flattening their 5 houses, 4 greenhouses, sheds, water tanks, pumps and all trees that were planted so many years ago to build an airport. Even if they already have some land to move the farm to it is a pity to start all over with this amazing horticultural operation. Maybe luck it is on WfZ side and they finally change this plan. Lets see. But until then Wells for Zoë won’t stop working and finding new places where to invest in horticultural education.