Farming God's Way brings hope in Zimbabwe
By Lee Forland, Southern Africa Communications Coordinator | Zimbabwe in Southern Africa
Farmer Chenai prepares her irrigation bottles
Blending Christ-like compassion with unique farming methods has transformed hearts and significantly improved crop yields in eastern Zimbabwe.
In 2016, a famine led to SIM starting a project to support poor communities with extra food, while also training some farmers how to improve yields using a technique termed called Farming God’s Way.
The project shared Christ’s compassionate love with hurting families, and the pillars of evangelism and discipleship were kept at the centre of every activity in the field.
Farming God’s Way teaches farmers to marks out a field and dig rows of 15 cm wide by 15 cm deep holes,. Each row is 75 cm from the next one, and the holes are 60 cm apart.
The holes are fed by composts and top-dressing fertiliser to boost the crop growth potential. The plot is then covered with grass straw and mulch, known as God’s blanket, to prevent loss of soil and water while promoting filtration to keep the soil moist.
The farmers in the Zimbabwe programme were also provided with maize seed, top dressing fertiliser and pesticide. Most important of all, they were also given Bibles in the local language, Ndau.
The farmers were thrilled when they saw how much the techniques improved yields. Andrew Bheme, who is married with three children, harvested a record-breaking eight bags of maize and could sell some to buy doors to complete his new house.
Ncence Makufa, a widow with three children, faced the challenge of farming in her yard which is both rocky and sloped. Thanks to the SIM training, she was able to grow food for her family and is now regarded as a shining light in her community.
Godfrey Chimana, SIM's project manager, said: "It is very inspiring and a real joy to see how the higher crop yields are bringing our friends closer to God while also giving them greater crop yields to live on."
Farming God’s Way provides many blessings, with average crop yields being eight times those of farmers using more traditional methods.
This enabled the average household to produce enough food to meet their needs, and in most areas, produce a surplus which could be sold to support other needs like paying school fees. In addition, the programme improved health resulting in a significant decrease in cases of malnutrition.
Through the Christian approach of the ministry, the farmers also witnessed oneness and love amongst each other with some farmers committing their lives to Christ. The ministry has also cultured faithfulness and responsible stewardship of God’s given resources. The majority of the farmers are also using their harvest as a way of thanksgiving to support local church programmes and activities.
The Farming God’s Way farmers have become the torch bearers of farming in Zimbabwe as other farmers, not in the program, are copying their methods. The Government of Zimbabwe has also mandated that Farming God’s Way techniques become a national program.
Because of its positive impact, Farming God’s Way has been extended as a SIM programme in Zimbabwe at least until 2025 and is now being introduced by SIM in Ghana and Malawi.
• For additional funding so that resources can be channelled towards ministry growth.
• For ministry expansion of Farming God’s Way into other places of need.
• For good weather and especially that floods, cyclones and droughts would diminish.