1 Corinthians 3:11 “For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.”
A former gold panner, Makesure Muchenge, has become one of the best conservation agriculture trainers in Africa. Many Non Governmental Organisations dream of having such stories from their development programmes. However, Makesure wasn’t the product of a programme, but his success was the result of a relationship. Specifically, Makesure was befriended by former Zimbabwean commercial farmer, Boet Pretorious. When the two first met, Makesure was living a destructive lifestyle, spending what little money he had on alcohol, rather than caring for his family or investing in his livelihood. Boet, a Christian dedicated to training the poor in Africa to feed themselves using Foundations for Farming, loved and mentored Makesure and helped him turn his life around.
Since those early days, there has been real transformation in Makesure’s life. He no longer struggles with drunkenness and is producing enough as a farmer to provide for his family’s needs as well as others in his community. In fact, Makesure has gone on to win a farming award and been offered some of Zimbabwe’s prime land as a prize. However, Makesure turned down this offer of land to continue helping his community. Rarely do you hear of “rags to riches” stories about rural Zimbabwe. It is rarer still to hear of a farmer rejecting a sure way to more riches to stay and help his or her community for no gain.
The key to Makesure’s success has been following the Foundations for Farming methodology of minimal tillage and no burning but using mulching, crop rotation and high management instead, Makesure insists however that his successful farming enterprise is more a result of his relationship with Boet, which has changed his heart and attitude to life. Having understood and felt the love and grace of God from a white, former commercial farmer, Makesure says he decided to also become a Christian. Learning to be faithful with what he has been given and loving those around him have also inspired Makesure to be a great farmer who uses his profits to help his community.
Foundations for Farming has seen many lives, besides Makesure’s, transformed through its teaching and relationships with farmers.