Margaret Lloyd builds 9 houses from rice farming
- Created: Sunday, 23 October 2016 11:30
- Published: Sunday, 23 October 2016 11:30
50 year old Margaret Lloyd of Livunzu EPA in Chikunumbwi section in Chikwawa has been a farmer for practically all her life. She has been growing various crops such as maize, millet, and sweet potatoes. However, in 1993, considering the favourable weather conditions and soil type, she added rice to the list of crops to grow.
After her husband passed away a few years back and left her with nothing but one house and four children to feed, she was faced with the reality of facing certain hunger or find means of survival. Something had to be done to maximize outputs from her enterprises including rice.
In 2008, she was introduced to the Rice Platform through AICC where she received various trainings pertaining to rice farming. Margaret explained that AICC provided trainings in Systems of Rice Intensification (SRI) which was an entirely new method compared what she was used to. “When the technology was introduced I was very reluctant to use it because I thought it would not provide me with as much as I was already producing. But I was certainly wrong,” she said.
Margaret used to plant rice using the conventional methods which involved planting 5-7 seedlings in one station. She believed, like many others, that by doing so she would produce more than by planting less seedlings in one station. Apart from that, she planted at random spacing because it did not matter to her how far apart the seedlings should be. Fertilizer usage was also sketchy because of the high price of the commodity. However, this kind of practice resulted in the use of 2-3kgs of seed per 0.1 hectare of land. Yield was also very poor as she would only harvest 7-8 50kg bags of rice.
With the implementation of SRI technology, she has seen a tremendous improvement in yield. On a 0.1 hectare size of land, she is now able to harvest 14-15 50kg bags of rice. The results of this increase in productivity have been very impressive as she has been able to build 9 houses which she puts up for rent. “The houses have been the envy of many of my neighbours such that they too have started using SRI in their rice fields. The house have also been an extra source of income so I find that I lack nothing,” she said.
All four of her children are in school and she also looks after two of her relatives’ children. Margaret is proud of the fact that she does not lack food throughout the year. When her husband passed away her major worry was that she would not be able to provide for her family. Now she is the proud owner of 13 goats as well.
“I never would have been able to see such a tremendous change in my life without the interventions brought to me by AICC. With SRI, not only did I reduce the amount of seed sown from 2-3kgs to 1kg only, but I also followed recommended fertilizer application, seed spacing, and all other advice. The results have been more than I could have imagined.