Saturday, August 26, 2017

Well drilling is a little slow right now

I posted earlier that the rains have returned and that means people are busy in their fields plowing, planting, weeding, and harvesting. The well drilling naturally slows way down during planting and harvesting times because people need to be in their gardens tending to the food they will eat and/or sell. This year has been atypical in that the water well drilling has been slow all year. The drought and resulting famine brought the well clubs to a halt as there was little enough food in the home and what little food there was could not be used to feed a 10-neighbor well drilling team. Where we drilled 120 water wells last year, we've only drilled 17 this year. Things are looking up though. Starting Monday we have 2 new well clubs that we will begin working alongside training. There are 8 other well clubs waiting on a free drilling rig and trainers so that they can also begin. We only have about 2 months left before we need to head back to America for baby #4, but it should be a busy 2 months full of well drilling and farming. I'm hopeful these well clubs will hit the ground running and we can add another 30 to 40 water wells before the year is out.

Rains have returned and crops are growing!

We are thrilled to report that the rains have returned this season. It is raining several times a week, usually in the evenings or overnight. It makes for good sleeping weather. The sun is out during the day so people are still able to get out and work in their fields. The crops are growing well. We planted earlier than most down at the farm. We have several fields of maize planted, watermelons, tomatoes growing in the alley-cropping alleys, bell peppers, several varieties of jalapeƱos, cantaloupes, honeydew melons, sweet corn, squash and zucchini, along with the typical crops seen in most gardens - beans, cassava, egg plant, and sorghum.

Last season was still dry, however the crops planted at the farm did surprisingly well. The Ugandan national average for maize is right around 600 kgs/acre. Last season God blessed us with nearly 3 times the Ugandan average with a yield of 1770 kgs/acre.

Over the last three growing seasons we have seen a steady increase in our yields across all crops. Maize has increased from 1000 kgs/acre, to 1188 kgs/acre, to our best yet of 1770 kgs/acre.
Sorghum has also done very well. We harvested 1668 kgs/acre last year while the Ugandan national average is 320 kgs/acre. We've also seen great harvests of watermelon (13,600 kgs/acre), peanuts, and beans.

Because the farm is a training/demonstration farm we have a number of small plots where we experiment with nontraditional crops, and many traditional crops but planted nontraditionally. We are completely sold on the results of the Farming God's Way (FGW) method. Many people come by weekly to visit the farm and to know what we're doing differently than they, but adoption by the village farmers is slow. Ladies throughout the village have been far more likely than men to implement the changes in farming that they learn from us. My guess is that the ladies see the results and go home and do it. Many are not interested in the whys? or the science behind FGW, but witness the results and make the necessary changes in their own gardens. The men need to be sold on the idea, hear the science behind FGW, see quantifiable results, and then they still go home and continue with the way of farming they are used to.

We will continue to planting and growing and teaching and trust God to do a work in people's hearts and bring them to the place where they are willing to trust God in all their ways (including farming) and stop leaning on their own limited understanding. We do praise God for the return of the rains and for the upcoming bountiful harvests. I know the dark mood that hung over the village during the drought and famine period has lifted and people are excited about the future.