Volunteer Assistance Transforms Falumbamba Farm in M'banza Kongo, Angola
This article was originally written and published by CNFA.
The Falumbamba Farm is a multi-operational farm that provides agricultural goods and services to Zaire Province, Angola, and employment to the surrounding community. The farm produces a wide variety of crops on about 1280 hectares (only 20% of the farm) which is sold to markets in Luanda, Soyo and M’Banza Kongo. The farm also provides services to the surrounding community, including land preparation, technical assistance on food production practices and housing construction.
Founded in 2013, Falumbamba Farm is one of the biggest farms in M’Banza Kongo, but growth was constrained because they had no strategic plan and had issues with pests and diseases. Falumbamba wanted technical assistance through the USAID-funded Farmer-to-Farmer program which resulted in assistance from two volunteer consultants – Louise Swartzwalder, a private farmer from Ohio, and Janet Buresh, a business consultant from Washington, D.C.
We recognize that working without modern methods is not productive. We're now happy because we gained practical knowledge from CNFA volunteers." - Falumbamba, owner
In February 2016, Louise Swartzwalder trained the farm workers on modern production practices to increase soil health and decrease the spread of diseases. As a farm owner who produces a variety of fruits and vegetables, Ms. Swartzwalder provided practical recommendations to improve seed selection, decrease the spread of disease by properly disposing weeds and install a drip irrigation system instead of surface irrigation, and encouraging the use of greenhouses to produce fruits and vegetables through the dry season.
In May 2016, Janet Buresh provided assistance with their business management. Ms. Buresh, a returning F2F volunteer consultant, worked directly with the farm owner to research profitable on-farm activities, including expanding the cattle herd, raising and selling chickens, and expanding cassava production in order to sell in bulk to large clients. By the end of the assignment, they created a 5-year strategic business plan that included a production plan, a market strategy and financial record keeping templates.
Falumbamba’s owner confirmed that the F2F volunteer assistance led to a significant increase in farm production. For example, the area for maize cultivation increased from four to nine hectares, beans increased from four to eight hectares and green leafy vegetables increased from two to five hectares. The cassava harvest increased by 300 tons, per year resulting in a sales increase to $268,000 from cassava and $90,000 from fruit and vegetable harvests per year.