The Plight of the Farmer

Planting season has arrived in Zambia and the fields are plowed and seeds are thrown and the whole family works from the morning till night till the bags of seed are done. But everything goes to waste especially for my friend Violet. Why?

Because the rains are late.

The rains usually come so much and frequently that sprouts would’ve already arrived by now but instead Violet has lost her first investment of seeds. Usually as a farmer without cows, you hire a cow plow to help with planting which is 100 kwatcha (divide by six for dollars) but Violet invested her money and bought cattle of her own before the season. So the only problem is that the rains are late this year.

Planting depends so much on the first rains especially to root the seeds down before they are eaten or rot or etc. But without these first rains, you lost a whole field. She spent 450 kwatcha on a 10kg bag of seeds that is now lost and has to be replaced and the field has to be re plowed and replanted. Her husband Mvula (name that means rain) and their sons Gani or Ganzan and Lunda tend the plow and cattle while she and her daughters plant behind them and they have to do it again which means the boys and girls lose almost another week of school. And without their children to help, nothing will get done.

It’s a sad thought when Violet has school fees and boarding school for her oldest daughters as school after ninth grade is not provided in the village. She has a business selling groceries that is losing money and now her prime job is also losing money.

Farming is such a job that requires all Yue time and energy but relies on so much factors to earn a stable living but it is a living which is why many of Zambians even who live in town still plant and farm. They still go at it and try and farm. And so will Violet.

It is her main source of income and she will return with another sack of seed and her whole family to replant and try again. It’s the only way for many people in Zambia to rely on the earth, sun and rain.


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