Eswatini Plowing Initiative

Around the world, 25% of people are food insecure, but in Africa, the issue is impossible to ignore. Africa is home to more than half of the global total of acutely food-insecure people, estimated at 65 million people. Against this backdrop of impossible odds, Pasture Valley Children Missions exists to help vulnerable children and families in Africa escape hunger and hopelessness and to give a hand up, not a handout, to a better future.

With the help of a $2,750 grant from the Forward Foundation, Pasture Valley Children Missions was able to buy a much-needed tractor to serve families in the African country of Eswatini. According to Pasture Valley, roughly 15 villages (about 800 people) will have food security that did not exist last year because of the new tractor.

Almost no one has a tractor in Eswatini.  The government stopped subsidized plowing about five years ago, and project leaders say the few who have tractors charge high, often unaffordable prices to plow the fields.  Most families cannot afford plowing, so they try to till the ground by hand, hoping to farm enough food to feed large numbers of children.

After the COVID lockdown, most people in the Eswatini were between a rock and a hard place. Because most households are cottage industries and there was no opportunity to sell crops at the market during the shutdown, many families simply went without.

Pasture Valley used the Forward Foundation’s grant to buy a used Allis Chalmers tractor, plowing implement, seed, fertilizer, garden hand tools and tractor fuel. Using this wealth of new tools, the mission immediately went out and plowed the fields for 15 extended family villages in Eswatini. Even with rains at the wrong times and a storm that damaged the crops, every village made it through the year with food security.

“That Allis Chalmers has been a blessing to many,” said Dr. Regina ‘Kitty’ Bickford, President of Pasture Valley Children Missions. “Some of the stories that came from it have been heartwarming and made it well worth doing.”

In addition to providing the tractor, the mission also trained young men on how to use it and allowed them to plow their fields for free, in exchange for their labor plowing the fields of others in the community.

The Forward Foundation is honored to support this wonderful initiative to feed vulnerable families and create a healthier farm economy for villages throughout Eswatini. For more information about Pasture Valley Children Missions, visit their website by clicking here.