Project Report: Maize Crop
Supplement the needs of the most disadvantaged in Mbayi with a sustainable maize crop.
- $1,000 in the first year.
- $2,000 in the second year.
Upon arriving in Mbayi one is first struck by the desperation for food. With little money it is difficult to purchase seed, and even with seed the yields are painfully low without fertilizer, which none can afford. Of all the crops the people of Mbayi grow, maize in particular is very important; it is used to make nshima, the staple food in Zambia. Everyone in the village depends on nshima. As such, it was fitting that one of the first projects to be undertaken was a large maize crop to help alleviate the hunger of the villagers of Mbayi.
Year One: The First Step
In the first year $1,000 was raised to purchase the seed and fertilizer necessary for a 1 1/2 hectare crop of maize. The project was a huge success, with a large yield of healthy/large ears. The chairman and elders of Mbayi decided that the entire crop would be dedicated to supplementing the needs of the most disadvantaged in the village: the sick and elderly.
However, this created an issue with regards to the sustainability of the project. Even when limiting the distribution of the crops to the most disadvantaged in Mbayi the demand was too great; the entire crop was consumed. This crop was successful in assisting those most in need, but only for one year. This proved that with the right resources and a little help the people of Mbayi are capable of growing large healthy crops.
Year Two: To Sustainability
In year two, $2,000 was raised to grow 3 hectares of maize (double the amount grown the previous year), with the objective of selling half the yield, in order to generate sufficient income to fund the following years crop. This would make the project sustainable.
Unfortunately this past growing season was poor. It was wet when it needed to be dry and dry when it needed to be wet, producing a crop with lower yields than expected.
Where We Go from Here
With the poor harvest this past growing season, enough revenue will not be generated from the crop to fund another 3 hectares in year three.
Additional funds will be required if this project is to be continued.
The people of Mbayi were entrusted with and empowered by your generous donations, and they succeeded. They demonstrated that given the proper resources and guidance they can grow large healthy crops. What is even more amazing is that they chose to give the crops to those in the village who needed them most. This is not as obvious as it sounds when everyone is suffering.
Sadly, but through no fault of their own, the yield of their crop in the second year of the project was lower than anticipated, pushing the goal of a sustainable maize crop further into the future.
For individual blog post discussing this project click here.