The V-Tractor is Hard at Work
Like many parts of Malawi, the area around Thondwe (in the southern part of the nation) is extremely rich with natural resources. Trees, hills, animals, water, and much more are all naturally a part of daily life for the people around Thondwe and the Namikango Mission and Maternity Hospital. The possession of the V-Tractor has added another water resource use. Bordering the Mission to the north is the Naiwale River. It serves as the line of demarcation between the Mission and the villages to the north. The river meanderers inside the Mission’s forests and has a long life due to the shady cover over it. Out in the open areas it losses much of its water through evaporation. Here in the shade of the forests it provides the precious commodity to surrounding community for domestic purposes.
In addition to providing water for domestic purposes the river is also a source of water for Mission’s irrigation plot. With its large water tank attached, the V-tractor is able to pump enough water into its tank and irrigate the land in far less time than people could manually do on the same distance and time. Lying approximately one kilometer from the river, the irrigation plot serves as a demonstration plot for high yield maize varieties to the community around the Mission.
The V-tractor, a brain child of Americans Tom Rich and Richard Stephens, is proving its full effectiveness in cost and time reduction, while at the same time increasing the results of its labor in the fields. So far, it has proved effective in tilling and irrigating the field with great ease. In line with the Malawi government’s top most priority area of focus, which is increasing Agricultural production, the tractor is expected to improve yield production directly or indirectly. Indirectly because, with the winter cropping conducted at the Mission, many people will learn how to cultivate, and to plant high yield maize varieties that will go a long way in adding food production to the country.
The pictures are not for show. It is a V-tractor at hard at work on a sunny Wednesday morning with the machine going about its normal duty. Pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists all paid a great deal of attention because, to many of them, this was the first time to see such a tractor. A farmer at a nearby garden from where water for irrigation was being pumped asked where could access such a tractor. He was totally surprised with such a machine, when he learned it could be used for both tilling and irrigating the field.
– Wilson Isaac Tembo