UK Registered Charity 1084849

The Luhimba Project:
Agriculture

This is what the villagers are best at.

Over 90% of the population are farmers, each with their own ‘shamba’ (plot of land
for cultivating crops) and usually a few animals – pigs, cows, goats or chickens.

The main crop grown is maize from which they make ugali (maize porridge which is the staple diet). Other crops include rice, beans, potatoes, cassava, sunflowers and fruit.
The village has a government-employed Agricultural Extension Officer who advises the farmers on all aspects of farming. The current officer is Joseph Simsokwe, although he is soon to be moved to another village and be replaced by a new officer.

The project has provided extra training for Joseph and given him a motorcycle to make it easier for him to reach outlying farms.

In the mid 90’s the project helped the village set up a heifer project, enabling several families to own a cow. This developed into the ‘Buy an Animal for Luhimba’ project where sponsors can provide pigs, goats, 10 chickens and cows for families.
In 2004, at the request of the village leaders, a small business microfinance scheme was introduced to provide loans to small groups, to help them set up or expand farming activities. Loans are on an interest-free basis and the scheme is managed by a village committee.

The latest agricultural project is the installation of a major irrigation scheme which will enable farmers to cultivate two or three crops per year instead of just one.

Farmers are encouraged to sell produce and to help this a new market is planned at a site adjacent to the main road (about 2km from the village centre) to catch passing trade.
Thanks to Joseph Simsokwe, farming skills and techniques have improved by leaps and bounds over the past twenty years producing higher quality produce and helping to reduce poverty.