The survival of Elias Mogha’s family is dependent on what he can grow on his parcel of land in Malawi. But rain, vital for cultivating life, had been minimal. Elias began to worry that perhaps this was the year his family would go hungry.

A lifetime of raising crops and rearing livestock made the 65-year-old nothing short of an expert farmer. In spite of this, Elias didn’t hesitate when he had the chance to sign up for a PWS&D-supported program teaching a revolutionary farming method called conservation agriculture. With this training, Elias could protect his crops from the dry climate and grow more food.

Filled with optimism, the farmer walked to his first session. But when he approached the program participants, Elias was met with skeptical glances. He learned that his fellow farmers believed he was too old to learn a new way of farming and didn’t belong in the program.

Elias felt discouraged for only a moment. As he knelt to feel the dry soil on his practice plot, he thought about his family and how determined he was to make their lives better.

Elias's mulched conservation agriculture plot.

Elias’s mulched conservation agriculture plot.

The experienced farmer caught on to conservation agriculture quickly. Instead of tilling the soil like he was used to, Elias was instructed to dig basins for his seeds and fertilizer. He then covered these soil basins with composted plants to supress weeds and hold in moisture.

When he finished, Elias inspected his expertly mulched plot, satisfied that his crops would have a good chance of meeting their yield potential.

Elias was right. Eventually, throngs of lush maize mixed with bright green beans crowded his conservation agriculture plot. Project leaders pronounced his plot the most lush and cared for of all the participants. Elias himself was in awe at the difference in yields after using conservation agriculture.

Elias proudly shows off the first signs of life on his conservation agriculture plot.

Elias proudly displays the first signs of life on his conservation agriculture plot.

To this day, project leaders conduct field days to Elias’s farm so that others can learn from his techniques.

Whether they are learning to farm or an old hand in agriculture, conservation agriculture is integral in helping vulnerable farmers produce more food. Make a donation to sustain the project that is bringing us closer to a world without hunger.


*This project receives support from Canadian Foodgrains Bank. PWS&D is a member of Canadian Foodgrains Bank, a partnership of 15 churches and church agencies working together to end global hunger.