(EN) The impact of climate change on women farmers

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 Mrs tisaine zulu working on her farm

Mrs. Tisaine Zulu is a woman who takes farming as a business.  She was born in 1947 in Kawelenga Village in chief Nyanje in Petauke district but later got married to Mr. Allioni Banda and relocated to Chipata in 1970.  Her first born daughter Nyawa Banda was born in 1971.  She has 10 children, 3 males and 7 females.  Mrs. Tisaine Zulu last born child is disabled.
 Since 1970 Mrs. Tisaine Zulu has been doing farming on the land she was given in 1970 when she came to Chipata.  She had three pieces of land but two were taken by authorities and she now farms on the remaining one.
She has also manage to take her children to school regardless of the hardship in making a living out of small  scale farming she is practicing. 
“One of my daughters is working for a clearing company at Mwami Boarder Post”, she said proudly. “My husband is home because he is not feeling well, he has am aye problem”.
 “Farming has not been easy for the past 10 years due to the change of the rain fall pattern in this area. I use to have a good harvest 100 bags per season that’s why I managed to take my children to school.  We used to sale our produce to Eastern Co-operative Union then” she said.  
“My yields are getting smaller each year because what we use to experience long time ago is totally different. What we are harvesting especially in the small grain sectors is a disappointment because if we are not going to prevent this, we might lose out on the small grain production, produce like beans, cowpeas, groundnuts and soya beans faces extinction,” she added.
I spent a lot of money in buying fertilizers nowadays because you can’t farm without it.  The land is very unfertile as you can see and rains usually starts late.  So far we only received once heavy rains this year despite it being mid November.  Some years back we use to plant in October and we never had to use fertilizers for farming.
Conservation farming is good but it requires a lot of labor that is why most to the farmers in this area are not practicing it. 
It is a good way of farming because it preserves the land and uses decomposed manure.  We hear that fertilizers destroy the land.
I don’t know anything about weather but I hear on radio that the weather is changing.  It is becoming too hot nowadays even in June when it suppose to be cold and sometimes it becomes cold in October.
 Last year some of my crops dried up when we had drought.  I have to buy some food for the children since I don’t have enough to take us through to the next harvest.
“I hope there is something that can be done on weather because years to come, most of the crops we use to plant will no longer be there as a result of the changing in weather and climatic conditions”, she said. I used to grow beans, cowpeas, sweet potatoes and maize but I now concentrate on maize alone because it is our staple food and it does survive even when other crops fail to mature due to droughts.
  I plant high breed maize seed, local maize cannot grow on my land as you can see it is unfertile and is prone to massive erosion.  Last farming season I harvested only 11 bags from the 100 bags I use to harvest from this land.
“I would like to advise my fellow farmers to practice good methods of farming and should stop the cutting down of trees to help reduce the impact of climate change.’’
 “We have to be taught on how we can preserve this change on climate because we don’t know most of these things”, she said.
Flamme d’Afrique,  Peter Frank Banda - Breeze FM

 

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