In rural Pakistan, one simple tool is helping poor families grow more vegetables at home.

It isn’t a shovel, hoe, or compost bin—it’s an old clay pot.

Scratched, broken, forgotten vessels are vital to a gardening method introduced in a PWS&D-supported agricultural project in Pakistan that is improving food security for 650 drought and flood-affected families with support from Canadian Foodgrains Bank.

An especially dry summer has led to severe water shortages in Sindh province. This has reduced crop yields and limited vegetable growing in home-based kitchen gardens—a main component of this project and an important source of food for participants.

But with clay pitchers as tools for irrigation, women and men are learning to transform their sandy garden plots and grow spinach, tomatoes and radishes with less water.

A woman demonstrates clay pitcher irrigation. Photo: CWSA

For this method, large clay pots are buried in soil, one metre apart, with the mouth of the pot exposed. Vegetable seeds are planted around each pot, which is then filled with water about once a week. Water percolates through the pot and moisturizes the surrounding soil—creating a rich, fertile bed to yield fresh, healthy produce.

Abdul, a project participant, is thrilled that such a simple household object could help ensure a sustainable source of food. “The clay pitcher technique is innovative and cost effective,” he shares, “which addresses the water scarcity issue in kitchen gardening.”

His neighbour Bachaln also made the decision to use her old clay pitchers to support her kitchen garden. “This technique has aided in mobilizing our available materials in areas where we experience water shortages,” she reports. “This ensures a productive growth of vegetables in our gardens through the year.”

Clay pitcher irrigation is inexpensive, efficient and easy to learn. With your support, more and more families will adopt this method, rise above the effects of drought, grow a variety of food and nourish their bodies to carry them through abundant life.

*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. This project was undertaken with matching support from the Government of Canada.