At the peak of one of the worst dry seasons in Ghana and Sub Saharan Africa, PPPF’s adopted family, Mohammed Manshur (25 years), reaps abundance of okra and tomatoes and makes hundreds of Cedis from a lush farm to the surprise of many farmers in his area.
Mr. Mohammed Mansur (holding three okras up-left) is the family representative of the Manshur Family adopted by Magothy River Middle School of Maryland in 2008. Mohammed was sponsored by Magothy River middle school to receive training in the MORE system, and to receive start-up materials to set up his own MORE Farm. Mohammed is now teaching the MORE principles to students in Tamale Polytechnic and also managing his own MORE farms.
According to the Agricultural extension officer in charge of the area, Mr. Fuseini Musah, the fresh state of Mohammed’s farm baffles all farmers and extension officers in the area. According to Mr. Fuseini this dry season has been one of the worst in Ghana with temperatures of 41 to 42 degrees and 26 to 27 degrees Celsius in the afternoons and nights respectively. Most shrubs and legumes have completely dried up. To him it is pretty amazing to have such a fresh farm in the middle of nowhere in the Northern Region where there is deep concern about how fast the Sahara desert is approaching.
According to Mr. K. Atobiga a neighboring farmer, Mohammed is not doing anything completely different from what all other farmers are doing, yet his farm is completely out of the ordinary. “When we ask Mohammed his secret, he just say ‘it’s the MORE magic’. We say, then come and perform the MORE magic in our farms so we can also have more”. “We all want to go to Kumasi (where Mohammed got his magic) to learn the MORE magic”.”Mohammed says next dry season he will walk us step by step through the MORE practices so we can have many farms”.
With an infectious smile and pointing to a wad of cash in his pocket, Mohammed observed “the market women chase me in town to give me deposits for my produce. Since when did farmers become so important that market women bring gifts to their farms to lobby to be allowed to buy produce? I and my family are so blessed.
“The best thing that ever happened to me in my life is the MORE training I received in Kumasi. I am so grateful to Magothy River Middle School for sponsoring me.” When we asked Mohammed, what is so unique about the MORE practices he responded with another wide smile and said “maybe site
selection, or planting distances, or the way the cow dung was mixed into the soil, or the water conservation practices, or the seed selection, or a combination of all, I can’t be sure. What I can say is that the MORE training taught me to have a good relationship with my plants. I observe their mood and as much as I can, I give them their needs”.
When we asked Mohammed, where he gets his water from, he observed that he dug about 5 feet deep into a dried river bed and he located his Miracle Pump there. He paddles the water into a 55gallon drum. A long ¾” pipe connects the drum to the farm. Interestingly the soil retains lots of the water for the plants so I don’t need to water that often.
Mohammed counts 3 to 5 okras for 50pesewas. He hopes to make more than 3500 Cedis (about 3000$) from this ¾ acre okra farm. This is my after school project. I come here after school with Muktar who is in class 6.” Mohammed’s younger brother Muktar, learning after his brother also harvest that much tomatoes from his small farm every 3 days.