Phase 1 begins!

The work to develop the agricultural land at the Samaritan Trust site near Blantyre has begun. The Foundation has installed a rain gauge to gather accurate rainfall data for the site and has also begun to plant a sisal fence around the site as added security.

We have begun to establish a number of demonstration trial plots. These have been developed following extensive research in the rural and semi rural areas around Blantyre and from the ideas and applications of Malawian farmers themselves.

First site:

Plot 1: Four rows of five or six metres planted with maize with no fertilizer.

Plot 2: As above but with a fertilizer of normal compound and normal nitrogen.

Plot 3: As above but with double compound fertlizer and normal level nitrogen fertilizer.

Plot 4: As above but with normal level of compound and double nitrogen

Plot 5: As above but with treble compound and nitrogen.

Second site:

This is a single site six times the area of the individual plots in site one. Here, twenty days after the first maize germination we will sow trifolium (also known as white clover) between the rows as an application of natural nitrogen. Moving into the second year we will vary this application to develop a pattern of effective trifolium use.

Third site:

Here, we will make use of the native Nsangu tree. This tree protects crops during the hot days with its shade, and in the wet season it sheds its leaves and aids soil fertility. We will plant half an acre under its canopy and measure effectiveness. We will plant alternative trees for firewood to ensure the Nsangu is undisturbed.

Fourth site:

Here we will inter-crop between rows of maize with soya beans.

Soon we will be inviting famers groups from around Blantyre to visit the site and work with us on trying new models and sharing ideas and experience. We are also developing a new irrigation and water harvesting system specifically for Malawi and will also be seeking to introduce forms of renewable energy in the near future. Please email us with any comments or questions.

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