Our goats are doing well though finding sufficient greenstuff for fodder is increasingly difficult as everything dries out.
Breeding specifically for milk yield, we’ve thinned down the herd, issuing other goats to trained staff to continue the livestock programme helping their families.
Rabbits are doing much better—despite the uncomfortable weather most kits have survived. The effects of improved feeding and management have been clearly seen and appreciated by the staff
We’ve had 8 kids born during the past few months—4 males and 4 females, all are impressive, healthy, and from Sargeant our new saanen stud.
One of the males is from Woyamba, our pedigree female brought in from South Africa, and this young one may be as valuable to Malawi’s livestock gene pool as to our Milk Programme, being one of the few full pedigree saanens in the country.
We also refurbished the goats’ Birthing Unit. We re-hung doors, improved ventilation and light, covered the inner walls with chicken wire for security, and made it easier to clean. Wooden doors and gates in the male khola complex were replaced again, but our bucks are so strong, they’ll need metal gates to keep them in, faced with wood to keep the snakes out!
Left; Rabbits in a breeding pen in our rabbitry
Right: a distributed rabbit in its khola in the community
We lost all the mustard plants (green vegetable) due to extreme heat and water shortage, most disappointing, as these would have helped hundreds at the time of year when food was so scarce. We also lost much of the on-site fodder, but the leucaena and glyricidia are still hanging on, both of which will back up the moringa for protein content for livestock.
On our new land in Makhonja, we’re making good progress.
A compost heap was built, according to Farming God’s Way guidelines - inside a framework of wooden posts. Unfortunately, the posts were stolen— but thankfully the thief didn’t understand that the aged compost was of much greater value than a few blue-gum poles! This rich compost was used to plant moringa as a living fence round the site boundary. As we knew we hadn't the time to prepare all this land FGW–style before the rains, we loaned “Yankho” members—our AIDS support group—a chunk of it. They’ll prepare and maintain it with all the harvest given to the frailest in their group. The rest of the land will be planted with soya—the crop most valuable to us for our milking goats.
The original moringa trees have been pruned hard with all the nutritious off-cuts given to the animals. The young trees have struggled because of the weather, and trampling by builders, but most have got through and the gaps will be filled in from our seedling nursery.
The BUV (basic utility vehicle) has been repaired - kindly funded by Rotary NW, and is brilliant!
It was used to carry milk, agri-staff to prepare FGW community fields, tools and lots of other equipment and materials.
The BUV leaving our site to deliver milk to the remote areas, and agri-staff to prepare villages’ community gardens
We hope to plaster walls, floors, fit electrics & plumbing, early in 2013
The primary task during our recent trip,was planning and erecting the
Processing Unit for handling milk
and producing a highly nutritious
moringa food supplement.
We employed 12 local building
teams (25 people), plus metal
workers, carpenters, roofing team, wood suppliers, brickmakers,
transporters and other tradesmen, supporting local craftsmen and businesses as much as possible.
It’s all food on their tables!
The aim was to erect at least the shell, fully roofed, before we left the country, which we were able to do.
We’re passionate to improve nutrition in the rural areas. This Processing Unit will continue to ensure that our milk is in prime condition, and the nutrient-packed moringa leaves are cleaned, dried, and ground into a valuable food supplement for the malnourished.
Roofing the Processing Unit
One huge challenge is powering this Unit. Electricity supply is hopelessly erratic, so we need to develop a robust array of solar panels and all the peripherals to go with them. A major logistical and financial challenge.
The security wall progressed as labour was available, and we’re delighted that our boundary is now complete. The wall has been 4 years in the making and is not yet full-height, nor capped & pointed in some places, but we’ll keep working on it!
This is Page 3 of Winter report 2012