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Christian Aid’s Harvest Appeal

10 August 2017 No Comment

Christian Aid’s Harvest Appeal – help turn peas into profit this Harvest

Pigeon Peas

As we approach the season of Harvest, most of us in the UK are not in the fields gathering or gleaning, but with our families and friends, giving thanks for God’s plentiful gifts. And as we celebrate and praise God for providing all we need to eat, we also stand with our sisters and brothers around the world whose harvests are uncertain.

Last year St Francis’, High Heaton chose to send their collection for Harvest to support Christian Aid’s work with drought-affected communities in Kenya. ‘We value the work that Christian Aid does as the churches’ agency for international development’, explained the Reverend Robert Lawrance, ‘and we feel it is important to support them throughout the year, and not just at Christian Aid Week.’

This Harvest we are asking you to stand with Frank, a farmer in Malawi, who was taught a planting calendar by his grandfather based on the regular seasons – but the ever-changing climate means he can’t depend on this knowledge any longer. He used to rely on growing maize to feed his family, but this crop is now unsuited to Malawi and fails easily when the rains don’t come.

When the drought ruined the harvest, Frank’s four-year-old son became critically ill and he had to carry him on foot to the hospital four miles away. Frank was told that his son was severely malnourished.

It is very pathetic, as a father, to feel helpless like that, to feel like you cannot provide food for your children, and that there is nothing you can do to make them better when they are crying.”

Our partner, the Evangelical Association of Malawi, has been helping Frank and his family to thrive in such hostile conditions. With our support, Frank has successfully grown a special variety of pigeon peas. This remarkable crop is high in protein and its deep roots are ideal for southern Malawi’s dry soil, as it can resist the destructive flash flooding which is on the rise in the country.

Frank has already had a bumper crop of pigeon peas, but he still hasn’t been able to make a profit. Many farmers like Frank work individually and often lack the space to effectively store their peas. This means they have no choice but to sell their harvests to unscrupulous middlemen, traders who buy at farm gates and drive prices down to the lowest level.

With your support, this project will bring farmers together into Farmers’ Clubs, where they will learn vital business skills and work together to plan their planting to ensure a good balance of crops. They’ll learn marketing techniques and new methods for production and storage of pigeon peas, and they will be trained in negotiating fair prices for their crops.

For Frank, this could mean he is able to make a profit – enough to feed his family and even send his four children to school.

Jesus tells us that he has come so that we may have life and have it abundantly. Through giving, acting, and praying this harvest, you will help Frank and farmers like him not just to survive, but to thrive?

To get all you need for a church service and collection, please visit caid.org.uk/harvest.

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