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Mary and Silas Konya live, with their four children in the village of Gawaye, in the Dodoma region of Tanzania, part of the dry central plateau that receives erratic rains, less than the annual rainfall in Manitoba. Silas is a pastor serving his congregation, while they farm a 6 acre plot to make a living. In recent years, rainfall has not only been low, but it has become more unpredictable. Their soil was getting more and more depleted, producing less food for them and their 4 children.
Tearfund Canada has worked with a local church partner in Tanzania for years, offering agricultural training in the Dodoma region. Training local farmers in conservation agriculture improves yields, builds resilience to the harsh climate and improves degraded soils.
When the government of Canada asked members of the Canadian Foodgrains Bank to train 50,000 farmers in the conservation agriculture method by 2020 – Tearfund enthusiastically agreed to be part of this ambitious project.
In 2013, Mary and Silas were one of the first farming families trained as part of the project. The Konyas improved their farm yields through minimum soil disturbance, protecting the soil by mulching and rotating their crops in order to see the full potential of their land. They tried it on a ¼ acre plot in 2014 and the land began to flourish. They continued through the drought year of 2015, when conservation agriculture fields were the only ones producing any crops.
Silas tells members of the church about the benefits of conservation agriculture, and Mary was chosen as a local trainer by our partners. Her job is to use her success story to spread the word about conservation agriculture to her neighbours. Mary is a natural! She has recruited up to 103 farmers in one year to practice conservation agriculture and better meet their needs for food and income.
“Now that I have so many recruits to visit I have to plan out my whole day from early morning to see them regularly. ” – Mary Konya
Now as a team, Silas and Mary are going beyond preaching to extending practical love and care to their neighbours. They are bringing good news of God’s care through agriculture!