Meet John Martin, the Agronomist

The name John Martin is not new to those who read news on tidzala blog about “Get Up Stand Up Project”. John comes from Mulandula Village in Group Village Headman, Toleza in Balaka.

John MArtin (left)

He has been working at Andiamo Youth Cooperative Trust (AYCT) in Agriculture section of the Cooperative. He started with Chimanga Project in 2002, a project which was being funded by Italian based organization RC Ricercae Cooperazione Associazione Notai Di Bergamo Onlus where he was working as a field assistant.

“That time we were only working with Andiamo workers helping them with farming skills and giving them farm inputs loans before we started working with farmers in surrounding villages. My job up to now is to visit fields of our beneficiaries, strengthen the relationship between farmers and the project and also reporting to the Project Coordinator on how the situation is in the fields.”

John worked with Chimanga Project for 3 years and 6 months before the project operations in the country expired. After AYCT noticed his dedication, effort and his experience in agricultural activities, John was asked to work with Get Up Stand Up project as an agronomist.

John Martin a father of two, says that although he did not go to college to acquire skills in farming after he failed his Form 4 Exams, the period he worked with Chimanga Project helped him to have enough skills and knowledge in farming different types of crops including local and hybrid seeds.

Advertisements

Farmers sensitization on fertilizer application


Chilungamo is a group consists of 12 members in Chipote village. Although there were some problems which they were facing with plants germination, they planted their maize.

Weeding has been done in most of the fields. Only 3 beneficiaries have not yet applied fertilizer. These 3 farmers removed all their plants because were of stunted growth so they decided to replant.

With good rains which came on 11/01/2012, all plants have germinated well. Some of the beneficiaries have already applied CHITOWE. For those who did not mix CHITOWE and CAN, were advised to apply CAN after 3 weeks and Agronomist, John Martin advised them to make sure that their fields are free from weeds.

Due to climate change, these farmers also had another option of planting a cash crop which is cotton. Others also planted tomato and groundnuts.

In this village fields looks promising if rain continues to come they will have a good harvest.

Visiting Farmers

The cloud seems promising

As one way of making sure that farmers are practicing good farming methods and that the the farm inputs they are obtained are not sold, the project coordinator Henry Goster and the Agronomist John Martin, are visiting farmers in different areas.

According to the two, the situation in the fields is almost the same. Almost all the farmers have finished weeding as is evidenced in Chipote, Kainga, Njeleka, Mpulula, Kanyumba aka, and Nsaka Villages. The Coordinator has urged the farmers to continue taking care of their fields as they wait for the rains to apply fertilizer.

In Rabson Village and Nankhombe Village for example, the situation has gone worse as the rain is not coming and there is too much sun which has caused the maize to wilt. The Coordinator has advised the farmers to plant again when rains come.

The Coordinator also encouraged groups to continue conducting meetings like Petro group in Nankhombe village where they usually meet every Saturday at the village headman’s house.

Besides maize, It was also noticed that in some villages like Chipote and Njeleka the farmers are growing tomatoes and cotton.

The project has so far managed to visit 11 groups.