Although he is over 80, Godfrey Boma still has a large family to feed, with six grandchildren and two nephews who are dependent on him. Before he joined the Kasisi Agricultural Training Centre (KATC), the elderly Zambian farmer’s fields were exhausted and unable to produce.
Nowadays, Godfrey grows no less than 23 kinds of crops on his land, among them maize, groundnuts, cotton, pigeon peas, velvet beans, red and black sunhemp, pumpkin, Mexican apples and lemons.
The idea underlying sustainable agriculture is that farmers should co-operate with nature and not fight it. To be sustainable, agriculture must be environmentally friendly, economically viable, and socially just. This 5-day course covers the importance of soil organic matter, compost, green manures, agroforestry, conservation tillage, natural pest management, and rotation, diversification, and interplanting of crops. In part of one session we discuss sustainable agriculture’s ability to mitigate the impact of HIV/AIDS on the farming family.
Kasisi Agricultural Training Centre (KATC) is a farmer-training institution near Lusaka, Zambia. It is operated by members of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits). From its beginning in 1974 until 1990 it taught conventional (industrial) agriculture, but then shifted to organic, sustainable agriculture. KATC offers a series of short courses (3 days to 2 weeks) in organic agriculture (e.g., biological pest management, animal draft power), conducts field days at its own demonstration plots, farms, rural areas, and schools in the area.