Witness Ngofi first heard about conservation agriculture on the radio.

At home on her farm in Malawi, she listened to the announcers describe the new method of farming that would keep crops hydrated—even during dry weather—and help farmers increase their yields.

Using traditional farming techniques, Witness harvested healthy food for her son and mother. But periods of erratic, unpredictable weather made it increasingly difficult for her to protect the life-giving soil.

Trying Something New

Soon after the announcement on the radio, a Presbyterian World Service & Development-supported conservation agriculture project was introduced in Witness’s village. Local partners described the no-till method of farming that encourages the use of mulch and other natural fertilizers to revive the soil.

Even though this type of farming strayed from the method she had always practiced, Witness was keen to participate in the project. She was selected among a group of 40 other farmers for training.

Witness's mulched plot

Witness’s mulched plot

Soil-Healthy Farming

Through the program, Witness learned to mulch her plots with maize stalks, rice stems and thatch grass. Everyday she worked on her field, determined to transform the dry and brittle husks.

It wasn’t an easy process at first. Some farmers tried to discourage Witness from the new method and even laughed when they saw her carrying long stalks of maize to her plot for mulching.

But when early signs of life began to poke through her soil, Witness felt encouraged.

It wasn’t long before her conservation agriculture plot had burst with an abundance of tall, healthy maize. Farmers who once criticized conservation agriculture admired Witness’s plot and asked her to teach them the new method.

A Promising Future for Farmers

Conservation agriculture is a sustainable farming method that is helping farmers grow more food for today, while also ensuring a promising future for the farmers of tomorrow.

With your support, PWS&D will continue to encourage community co-operation and sustainable farming practices so that more farmers like Witness may break free from hunger.