By Luiz Sinzker
Luiz and Juliana Sinzker are agronomists and they had a wonderful experience working in Uganda. They are now preparing to serve in Mozambique. In the next editions we will learn more from their experience. In this article, you will see what Farming God’s Way means and the impact it can have on the whole community.
When we begin working in a place with a different culture than our own it is extremely important to understand the local cultural context, and then adapt our work according to this context. The African continent still has its economy based on subsistence agriculture, and around 80% of the population still live in rural areas. So we need to bring new ideas and procedures to these people that are naturally farmers because they were raised to become farmers. They want better results from their efforts, but most only know the way their fathers farmed. "Farming God's Way" is a method that was started in Zimbabwe, by a servant of God who searched the Bible for answers to the problems he had been facing on his own farm, decreasing crop yields year after year.
The method is based on a tripod: biblical keys, technology, and management
The main point of this methodology is: use what we have at hand to do the best we can. We cannot wait for the perfect conditions and start only after everything is perfect, we have to use what God has already given us and use it wisely to make our land productive, and along the way we improve and start to looking for better ways to do what we do, it is not about waiting for the best technology but to build the best step by step, little by little.
The method is based on a tripod: biblical keys, technology, and management. Within the biblical keys we have principles like:
1. Acknowledge God and God alone;
2. You are the temple of the living God;
3. Understanding God's all sufficiency;
4. What you sow you will reap.
We always start with these biblical keys because it is the most important thing before everything, before we start to change the way we farm we need to change ourselves from inside out, we need to understand who we are in God’s sight, we need to look at how God works and learn from him.
Techniques such as eliminating plowing, mulching, applying ashes and manure (cheap inputs) are some of the practices we use in this methodology. When we do not plow the soil and try to use 100% mulching covering the soil totally, we are trying to do the same thing that God does, because if you observe nature you will never see the soil uncovered and there is a reason for it. If we use these techniques, we avoid soil erosion, we promote water infiltration, and we do not lose nutrients, just to mention some of the benefits. Using wood ash and manure we are encouraging the small farmers to give something back to the soil they harvest from, because if we intend to achieve good yields we need to “feed” the soil properly.
In addition, the method includes management principles which are:
1. On time;
2. High standards;
3. Minimal wastage.
We cannot waste the resources we have; we cannot waste what we harvest; we need to farm on time and to high standards because we give honor to God with our work.
Therefore, if a small-scale farmer recognizes he is a son of God and starts to do everything he does for God's glory, he will take care of the environment, the soil, the water; he will use his work to take care of his family; he will make his own land highly productive to bless his community providing food security. We believe that every small-scale farmer can succeed if he does Farming God's Way.