Published: 30 June 2009
It was in early February 2008 that the initial pilot project to plant bananas on a 2 hectare stretch of land on Northrise Farms began. A lot of work has gone into ensuring that the initial suckers became what are now banana plants. According to Bob, the farm foreman, the bananas, which are of the Cavendish William variety, were actually planted off-season. This has a certain drawback in that the suckers are more difficult to maintain during this time of year due to the effect that the cold weather, which comes after February, has on the plants.
This off-season planting however was not something not thought about. It is because of the very off season planting that one year 4 months later the bananas are ready for sell and are highly on demand on the Ndola market because most farmers of bananas do not have the fruit during this time of season. The once bare 2-hectare piece of land on the Northrise farm is now flourishing with bananas that are ready to be sold. It has been a long time of dedicated nurturing of the plants by the Northrise farm workforce in which a lot of lessons have been learnt. These lessons are important as Northrise continues to strive to move towards self-sustenance. Bob has mentioned that the future plan is to have banana plants from which Northrise Farms will be able to harvest all year round. This will enable the farm to meet the demand on the Ndola market for the banana fruit.
Individual workers on the farm have also acquired skills that they previously did not posses. In essence, Northrise continues to empower the community through capacity building as well as a supply of healthy supplements to the diet. Not many average Zambians can afford fruits to supplement their diets. Northrise’s goal is to continue to empower the community of Ndola and change the Zambian economic landscape through this empowerment.
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