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By Peter J. Henriot SJ
Jun 5th, 2018

About 8 km (5 miles) from the campus of Loyola Jesuit Secondary School (LJSS) is located a large farm owned and operated by the school.  The 64 hectare (160 acres) plot had for years grown tobacco, the “gold crop” of Malawi.  But with declining earnings from tobacco, this owner sold the plot to LJSS in 2014.  We let the land lie idle for two years to regain some fertility and then began planting maize.  As this selection of photos shows, additional crops such as soya and cassava have been added, and a very fertile agricultural project developed.  Animal husbandry is also being introduced.

Maize field in early growth

Why farm development for a secondary school? 
At least three good reasons back up the effort of LJSS to manage a good farm. 

1st Maize and other vegetable crops, along with some animals (cows, pigs, chickens), provide food for our learners.  With almost 600 full-time boarders expected in another year, looking forward to three meals a day, a good food supply from a farm operated by the school is a very substantial benefit.

2nd Another reason for the farm is that when fully developed it can be a potential earner for the school.  We are close to the municipality of Kasungu where local markets can be sought to assist meeting school expenses – keeping learner fees lower  — contributing to LJSS’s commitment to be an “option for the poor.” 

3rd The farm can offer some opportunities for our learners for hands-on experiences of agricultural work in a good educational environment. 

Workers in maize field

Full head maize

Soya field

Cassava field

Temporary chicken run

Farmer’s house under construction; LJSS tractors

Family using old field well on farm field

Old field well to be replaced

The photos here show the fields, some buildings, some tractors and a well.  To bring farm operation up to full capacity, we need to construct a small warehouse, a chicken run, a piggery and improve the water supply with an industrial bore hole.  Donations to assist in this operation are now being sought. For more information please see here: www.loyola-malawi.org

The overall farm management is in the hands of Fr. Sebastian Malambo, S.J., a Zambian Jesuit.