Agriculture

Time for Farming in Werkok

Farming God's Way demonstration plot.
Farming God's Way demonstration plot.
Newly ploughed land around the MCH compound.
Newly ploughed land around the MCH compound.

The rainy season is the time to raise crops in the village of Werkok. The challenges of insecurity over the last year have caused a severe food shortage, and it is very important that the agricultural season is successful this year.

To help meet the need of both the community and Memorial Christian Hospital (MCH), the staff decided to ask the government for some help. Two tractors were sent to the compound and the majority of the unused land was tilled to prepare for planting. The land was divided up into plots that each MCH staff member would care for. Some land was also provided for the general needs of the hospital compound and other land was made available to members of the community.

MCH Farm Manager, Michael Maguet, also make a demonstration plot utilizing the Farming God's Way techniques he learned during his training with Partners in Compassionate Care board member, Dan Janzen, last year. He planted okra in the demonstration plot and plans to compare the results with the okra planted in the traditional manner.

Stewardship Program in Malek

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Dan Janzen, PCC Board member, and Michael Maker, MCH Farm Manager, recently visited with the diocese of Malek. This meeting wasn’t about healthcare, however, it was about agriculture.  When the meeting was initiated they were told they were the first group to meet with their newly establish diocese. This meeting resulted in an invitation for Janzen and Maker to return to the village on Tuesday, February 17th  and conduct a training on stewarding the resources God has given each of us. While the program is geared around agriculture, it is taught in such a way that students naturally begin looking at every area of their life as a gift from God for which they are responsible.

Janzen has taught Maker how to conduct the training, which they’ve done at least a dozen times together, and now Michael teaches the program himself in his native Dinka language. “It’s far more effective to have Michael teach, since he doesn’t need a translator,” says Janzen. He goes on to explain how important it is to equip young leaders like Michael with the skills to teach others rather than always having a western face at the front of the lecture hall.

More than 60 farmers from Malek attended the training taught by Janzen and Maker on February 17th. The program concluded with each attendee receiving a packet with a variety of vegetable seeds.

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Responding to the Food Crisis in South Sudan

Partners in Compassionate Care has been serving the health needs of Bor County, South Sudan for 10 years, but today we face a new threat—famine.

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3.5 million South Sudanese, or one in three people, face an acute lack of food, according to the United Nations. A widespread famine is looming after violence disrupted farming and food prices soar.

PCC’s board member, Dan Janzen, is on his way to South Sudan once he completes a Farmer to Farmer program in Kitale, Kenya. He will also be visiting potential partner organizations in Uganda and the southern portion of South Sudan. These organizations could be strategic in assisting with agricultural development in Bor County since they are nearby and further along the development path.

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“On the way to western Kenya we passed several huge military trucks which I am told were headed to South Sudan. This war does need to end soon …so that people can return home to farm. Hundreds of thousands of people are cooped up in Displaced Person Camps for security reasons and have already missed their prime chance of planting crops. Many have no seeds or implements with which to farm since many villages were burned and others were looted.”

From mid-September through mid-October, Janzen will be in South Sudan and along with PCC’s farm manager, Michael Maker, will be teaching classes on drip irrigation to help people get through the dry season and produce some food. “We will be teaching a modification of the Chappin drip bucket system so that household water can be used to keep some crops producing. We have 3 miles of drip systems to distribute [donated by Agro-Culture Liquid Fertilizer, a US company based in Michigan] and seed to distribute with the drip tape.”

Janzen plans to conduct a training program in Bor and possibly one in Werkok if there are enough residents. Participants in the training will complete a practicum where they learn how to install the drip systems and also gain some experience in intensive soil preparation and the bio-intensive planting method which will be used to ensure they can stretch the water as far as possible. Janzen says they will also provide partial shade to the plants to take off some of the stress from the scorching 120 degree temperatures that are common during the dry season.

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Growing Goodness in our Garden

Many thanks to Dan Jenzen, who brought seeds to us from the U.S. in February and introduced us to the concept of “kitchen gardening.” By sharing out bounty with patients and employees, we hope to teach them the importance of good, nutritious food. The garden also serves as a demonstration farm to patients and other villagers.  After successfully growing kale, tomatoes, eggplants, beans, nuts, and cabbages, we expect to increase vegetable production in next few months.