By Nancy Juma,
September 15, 2017
Despite an attack by the fall army worm on her Esikhokho Village farm in Luanda, Everlyne Odogba is still happy with the harvest this season. It is her first harvest after planting StrigAway maize seeds on her half-acre field.
“It is not so much, but this is the best crop ever seen in my farm,” says Everlyne, a 30-year old mother of six.
Everlyne explains that she has often considered abandoning the maize on her farm, as whatever harvest she got was never enough to feed her family.
“Can you believe the most I have ever harvested is only 12kgs after all my labour? I have often thought of switching to sweet potatoes, ground nuts and cassava as planting maize was just a waste of money and time,” she says, noting that her neighbour whose field was of equal size had harvested almost 20 times more.
An act of kindness by Everlyne’s neighbour is now convincing her to give the maize crop another chance. The neighbour, Arthur Arodho, who also chairs the Emmalova farmers group of which Everylne is a member, is one of the people in the area who have used StrigAway seeds.
“I was deeply disturbed by the state of her farm as I could see how miserable and food insecure the family had become. They had to borrow maize from my family and others within the neighbourhood whose farms were not as affected,” says Arthur, explaining how he one day decided to but a packet of StrigAway for Everlyne.
Everlyne says she planted the seeds immediately, but unfortunately the maize was attacked by fall army worms.
“This was my hope, I have a child going to secondary school and I was depending on the sales to boost me to take her to school, now I don’t know. On the bright side, the worm attacked when my maize was mature so the devastation was not so bad, it was a bumper harvest compared to what I am used to!”
With StrigaAway she believes that once the solution to the fall army worm is addressed.
“I am sure I will soon take better care of my children,” she says with a big smile, adding that maybe she will even get money to visit a dentist about the constant trouble with her teeth, two of which she has lost.