KAIROS N e w s l e t t e r o f E v e r g r e e n A g r i c u l t u r a l D e v e l o p m e n t Program New Program New Challenge I am Wang Fukui, I’m 44 years old; I grew up and live in Xiao Niuzhan Village in Yangqu County Shanxi Province. As a farmer, I am familiar with the struggles they face. When I was a boy my father died due to a disease and I continued to live with my mother until I married my wife. The following year my wife had a son. Both of us worked in a nearby factory in the off season and in all our life improved, but that all ended one day when my wife fell down while riding her bike breaking her leg. I was forced to quit my work and take care of her in the hospital. Due to that, we lost our jobs and had no income. As you can imagine, the daily expenses added up as she stayed in the hospital and then we ran out of our money and we were in debt. In spite of this God was at work in such a difficult time. We were introduced to David Leung an Evergreen doctor who helped us both with medical fees and consoled our hearts. My wife was told she might not walk again. We were devastated, in spite of the dim prognosis; Dr. Leung encouraged us and helped her recover. Day by day her leg was getting better, and after five months she could walk normally. It was a miracle.
Ag Staff with a local government official
After leaving the hospital, we faced another problem, what about work? Dr Leung introduced me to Evergreen Agriculture Project which taught me about new strains of vegetables and how to plant them. Later I was to join Evergreen Ag team as an employee. When Evergreen began the pig-raising project I was hired. I was hired to manage the pig units, supply sows to farmers and other related tasks. After one year’s work and study, I was transferred to the training aspect of this project. Here my job was to visit various farmers and build relations with them. Through this work, farmers began to accept our new variety of pigs and learned new skills from our training and some even expanded their small farms. Thanks to this project, farmers lives changed in a tangible and measurable manner. Through Evergreen’s work, I found the importance of my work. So many farmers need help both in living and spiritual aspects of their lives. Raising pigs gave us much practical knowledge about projects and the plight of the local farmer. In order to expand our impact, we started the greenhouse project. We found that vegetable varieties were limited and also expensive. Moreover, farmers were reluctant to try these new varieties since they were expensive and unfamiliar making them hard to sell. Do to these inefficiencies many farmers cannot compete and some have even quit using their greenhouses. Another factor in their inability to compete was lack of coordination amongst the farm-
themselves. For example when is the best time to sell their produce? Thanks to our five years of experience and our participatory teaching methods farmers are eager to hear our trainings. Our greenhouse has been renovated in order to demonstrate new methods and new technology. We also put a small library in our office and many videos to allow the farmers to come and read books and watch videos every afternoon for free. Since I am a farmer too, I personally understand what many of the local farmers experience, think and need. We will continue this project for the next five years and hope to make it a sustainable project much like the pig project. I have also found that my knowledge is inadequate which has forced me to study more as well. Over the next two months I will study so that I can begin greenhouse trainings in the summer.
Above: Wang Fukui & Han Baorong working in the Greenhouse.
Our program has already attracted much attention from many farmers and government officials. We sincerely hope through our work we can help farmers to break the cycle of poverty. But most important is sharing of the Good News with them.
Greenhouse Update The new Evergreen greenhouse project is located at the Yangqu Huangzhai greenhouse district. In total, there are 206 greenhouses and it is much like a small village where farmers live and work. Typically families own one to two greenhouses for a total of 100 plus families. Given its location the greenhouse is visited by many local farmers and government officials who are curious about our project and hope to cooperate with us. In December, an official from Provincial Agriculture Department visited our greenhouse; he listened to our ideas and was so glad to see this projects aim was to assist local farmers, and immediately decided to invite our Ag personnel member Han Zhiyong to attend a training which is organized for agriculture technicians of Shanxi Province. By the end of November 2008 we were able to see our greenhouse completely rebuilt. This remodel included an office and meeting room for farmers. From this new location, we hope to hold many trainings and further impact the area. In January of 2009, our free library opened, we have books and videos about how to grow various crops, and even raising animals. According what we have learned while visiting more advanced greenhouses in Shandong Province, we decided to utilize some of their techniques. One technique is to dig the foundation 50cm deeper which will increase the soil temperature by 2-3. Also we began using a better plastic as a cover for the greenhouse to help better trap heat and are more economical than the current straw covers. These two simple redesigns have attracted much interest and some farmers are planning to implement these new ideas. This year we introduced new varieties of vegetables and hope that through this project to improve the strains of plants used in our area. The local government of Yangqu County concerned with growing vegetables has also arranged to use a small pilot plot in our greenhouse for new varieties of vegetables in an attempt to introduce these varieties to local farmers. Moreover, we are planning to study and work with a greenhouse in Shandong Province in order to improve our skills in vegetable management, pesticide control and drip irrigation and through this will introduce these skills to local farmers.
Our Purpose Statement The Kairos* Agriculture Development Program assists the poorer rural households & communities in agricultural development through: • Training in technology & development methods • Introduction of appropriate and sustainable technologies • Testing new breeds and varieties • Agri-business development by using participatory teaching & development techniques, through it all reflecting the credibility of Christ. * The word ‘kairos’ is the Greek for ‘opportunity’ taken from the Galatians 6:10 - “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers” For further information please contact: Marc de Ruiter P. O. Box 1 030100 Shanxi, Taiyuan, Yangqu County, People’s Republic of China Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.evergreenchina.net
For Financial Contributions: Evergreen (EFFS) 6660 Delmonico Drive –St 201, Colorado Springs, CO 80919, USA Contact email: email@example.com (checks, bank transfer, credit card donations) Please designate: Agriculture
Newsletter of March 2009