Saturday, September 25, 2010

A food plot in Maputo

Last year I set up a food garden at the Zimpeto Children's centre together with some friends at Eduardo Mondlane University in Maputo, Mozambique. The Zimpeto Children's Centre feeds, houses and schools about 350 children every day. The purpose of the garden is to give some of the older children at the Centre training in food production, and to provide vegetables for the Centre's kitchen.

Before we look at the Zimpeto garden, we will take a short tour of the food plots just across the road from the Centre. Although it looks like a rural area, it is still within the city of Maputo, in a densely populated area. The vegetables are grown in small beds with raised edges and are watered by hand.

The natural watertable is quite near the surface. The farmers dig holes so they can access this water. They dip the watering cans into the small pools of groundwater. Several hectares of land are irrigated using watering cans, mostly by young kids. The method seems to work well, but is incredibly time consuming. Also the Zimpeto Children's Centre is situated further up the hill where the groundwater is far too deep to access in this way.

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