A Time for Change: From Fishing to Farming

Lawrence, a former fisherman, lives on Mbabala Island in Zambia. He and his family could barely survive on the fish he could catch. Fish stocks had fallen in the overfished local Zambian lake. Desperate to provide for his family, Lawrence took a risk and decided to give up fishing for farming.

Lawrence applied for the CFA GROW program, which provides large loans to help farmers specialize in a particular area of agriculture production. In 2018, Lawrence spent 8 months participating in irrigation and vegetable production training. With hard work and a willingness to learn a new trade, Lawrence excelled in both his practical and theoretical training. Filled with excitement and hope, Lawrence installed his own irrigation system. Within days of its installation, Lawrence had seedlings in the ground. Three months later, the first of his harvest started coming in.

Through his CFA training, Lawrence learned the importance of diversifying his crops. He grows a combination of onion, tomato, Chinese cabbage, and kale. His Chinese cabbage is in such demand that prospective buyers beg to purchase it early. Lawrence expects to make more than K3,600 (about $246.00) from his Chinese cabbage alone!

When asked about his farming practice, Lawrence credited his success to the composting training he received through the CFA. His best compost comes from the lake where he finds dead weeds and debris washed up by the waves. It’s hard work hauling buckets of compost from the lake side half a kilometer away to cover his crops. But the payoff is worth it! “For 11 years, I have tried to grow food behind my house and every year I failed because the soils are so poor. Now I have completely given up fishing and have devoted all my time into vegetable production.”

As fish stocks fail due to overfishing, households on Mbabala Island are struggling to find alternative sources of income. The CFA GROW program is proving that farming is a viable alternative.

Bright Hope Staff
Bright Hope Staff