In order to help improve local nutrition and prevent future famines, we have developed a program called “Land Lease,” which pays the poorest farmers where we work to grow the high-nutrition drought-resistant crops we choose on at least a half acre of their land rather than the traditional maize (corn) or tobacco. This includes the planting of up to 70 trees on each farmer’s land. The farmers receive $10 a month for a year plus $20 worth of seeds and farm implements. This $140 will keep a farm family on their land for a year and enable them to grow soybeans and plant tree saplings such as Moringa, whose fruits are very high in nutritional value. Guava trees are also planted as a source of food and income. Finally Acacia trees are planted as well; these act as windbreaks to reduce topsoil loss while helping to provide shade. The recipients understand that they will receive this benefit only for the year, but it is our hope that the changes both in nutrition and income source are permanent.
2017: Through Land Lease we have helped 75 poor farm families (approximately 525 people) to stay on their land despite a terrible drought induced famine while helping them actually improve their nutritional status and economic well being. We have also planted 6500 saplings.
Photo above: Land Lease beneficiaries in Chimbiya water their crops (8,000 tomato plants among others) grown from seed and using watering cans purchased by BTM.