Q&A With Local Zambian Farmer Showcases The Impact Of GrowPro...
Before Christmas, we provided Christopher Chibesakunda , a local farmer in Lusaka, Zambia with GrowPro Organic Soil Enhancer. A couple of weeks ago, we caught up with Chris to find out more about his experiences as a farmer and how GrowPro is helping to shape an exciting future for his farm...
Hi Christopher, it's great to catch up with you. How long have you been farming? Does farming run in your family?
Pleasure to speak with you John, yes my family have been farming for the past 20 years on the same plot of land.
How big is the plot of land you farm on?
It is about 5 acres or so, a good plot of land.
Traditionally, have you always used chemical fertilizers?
Yes we have always used chemical fertilizer especially for maize. Although, last year, we tried to use chicken manure but this didn't work very well at all; our crops lacked consistency. We also found we had an increase in diseases; the experience was a bit of a disaster!
What's your favourite and most lucrative crop?
Tomato for sure, if the timing is right with the crop.
Do you grow any other crops?
Well we grow quite a few different crops, such as spinach, green pepper, beetroot and potatoes.
Where do you sell your crops Chris?
Luckily, as we are in a farming area, we sell to a local farm/co-operative shop.
What’s the main issues you traditionally have with your tomatoes?
For tomato, last year the major problem we had was worms. We had to spend a lot of money on chemicals to try to treat this problem. The consistency is also a big problem; when we are harvesting we find that we end up with some big tomatoes, some small, some deformed, some with black spots etc. We usually end up with far less Grade A tomatoes and too many of the lesser grade tomatoes which isn’t good for business. The lesser grade tomatoes fetch quite a low price at the market, even if they can be sold.
Using traditional chemical fertilizer, Chris' tomato field
often ends up with a lack of Grade A Tomatoes...
So you’ve been using GrowPro for a few weeks now, can you see the difference?
Yes, I mean we only applied it a few weeks ago but I’m in the field every day, I look at plants, I look at how they are performing. I believe that if you don’t catch a problem early it can end up being a major problem. So inspecting the plants, inspecting the tomatoes, I can see a massive positive difference.
Could you explain in more detail what kind of difference you have seen using GrowPro?
Within 24 hours of applying GrowPro, I noticed an immediate difference. The plants seemed more upright, stronger and they were maximising sunlight. Within a couple of days, I noticed consistency in the field, they were all standing straight. Within a week, the flower started coming out, which was a very good sign. Very bright colours too which is another good indicator of success. Now they are fruiting from the bottom and they are consistent. On one bunch, we have at least 3 or 4 Grade A tomatoes. We would normally get around 6 tomatoes in a bunch but 4 of them would be deformed. The consistency now is excellent. If this continues, we will end up with far more Grade A tomatoes than we usually get which is fantastic.
Within 21 days of using GrowPro, Chris experienced a huge difference,
which will lead to a higher count of Grade A Tomatoes...
What were your first impressions of GrowPro, the packaging etc?
I loved the packaging. When I first opened the packets, I was a bit anxious as the colour was black, where as I am used to the white granules of UREA. I spoke to your team and read the literature on the product and then I understood why it looks like it does, this gave me comfort. I like the way the box comes with 5 individual 1kg packets, so you know there isn’t going to be wastage.
Actually Chris, a few people have said to us about supplying 500g packets too, for garden farming, what do you think about this idea?
Yes that would definitely be a good idea for garden farmers in my opinion.
How easy did you find the application and dilution of GrowPro?
Very easy! I actually found it shockingly easy to use. You read the instructions, then you dilute and you quickly realise that it’s very water soluble. You don’t have anything left at the bottom.
That’s something we worked very hard on Chris, to ensure GrowPro is very water soluble. We know that a few similar products end up having porridge like consistency which causes farmers problems.
You have definitely succeeded; GrowPro is very water soluble and easy to apply.
So your impressions of GrowPro are positive then?
100% positive. I’ve started expanding now; I want to try it on potatoes, green peppers etc. I want to use GrowPro on as many crops as possible.
Is there anything you think we could improve upon?
The only thing I can think of is perhaps adding some literature or drawings to show that the product is a different colour to chemical fertilizer. If you’re not aware of the colour it may give you a bit of a shock, though any fears I may have had were quickly brushed aside by the quality of GrowPro and the results it delivered.
Yes, it’s only black because it has so much organic matter in the product but we will definitely look to make our farmers more aware of the colour difference.
That makes a lot of sense.
What would you say to your fellow farmers about moving over to GrowPro? Would you have any hesitation in recommending it to them?
I would not hesitate to recommend GrowPro to farmers in Zambia. I’ve seen the yields, the quality of the fruit and the benefit for the soil. Due to how lightweight it is and the fact you only have to apply GrowPro once per crop cycle, it is far more cost effective than chemical fertilizer.
Thanks so much for your time today Chris. It’s been great catching up with you. Welcome to the WellCrop family, we hope you continue using GrowPro for many years!
It was a pleasure speaking with you John. I will definitely be using GrowPro from now on!