Sep26MonSeptember 26, 2016
It’s In The Bag
Charles Kinyangui is the leader of our EMCC partner in Kenya. There are now about 4 million people involved in the disciple-making movement he oversees. Their approach is simple – each follower is committed to sharing the good news of Jesus one-to-one. And so it has grown. His story is to us a miracle story.
Charles supports himself and his family as a high school teacher and he has a small hold farm of 4 acres. I met with Charles for supper one night while I was in Kenya on a Canadian Foodgrains Bank (CFGB) Learning Tour, observing the significant results from international agricultural aid. I talked with Charles about what I was learning, and in particular, told him about some new bags developed for crop storage.
“I know about them,” he replied. He purchased one of these airtight bags three months earlier, and seeing the good results, then purchased sixty more! Crop storage is a big issue. And the answer is in the bag – a simple, cost effective technology!
One sweet lady we met on the tour had a very small plot and needed only one bag. She invited us in for tea. More than a dozen of us crowded into her small dwelling. We watched with fascination as she hauled out the bag containing her maize. The kernels were as good as they were on the day they were bagged eight months earlier! The standard method of storage used by her neighbors involved ordinary bags, into which insecticide would be mixed 4 times a year. Even so, after this length of time, weevils would have reduced the contents to husks and powder. The airtight bag used by our host kills the insects that devour the grain and keep the harvest good for many months longer.
Where did these bags come from? Some serious research has gone into this and it doesn’t come cheap. One particular bag, the PICS bag was developed by Purdue University after receiving a $10 million grant from the Gates Foundation. This underscores the importance of investing in solutions that work on the ground. One farmer, now 80 years old, proudly gave us a tour of his crop storage. Again a story of incredible consequence about keeping hunger at bay. This is where the investment of entities like the Government of Canada becomes so important.
Education must go hand-in-hand with research and development. How did these folk find out about the bags? Meet Joyce Mukami (in the red dress), Veterinary Technician, who has been introducing customers in her district to this airtight bag solution. The bag story is really about community networking on a local, national and international scale. It includes small-scale farmers, local professionals and entrepreneurs, research institutions, foundations, NGOs and churches, national governments and foreign government aid. And the results are seen in the lives of real people helped – hunger abated, nutrition improved, environmentally better pest control, families stronger, commerce stronger.
So many of the commendable UN Sustainable Development goals are addressed through a focus on empowering the small-scale farmer. Our Lord can only be pleased with so many being agents of blessing and so many being blessed.
Members of CFGB are encouraging our government to increase support globally for small-scale farmers. You can also contribute to this effort by communicating with your Member of Parliament about this issue and how it is important to you. Write a letter or email, call your MP’s office or talk to your MP in person and pass on this important message. Learn more about the issue and pray for this work, and for those working to improve their own food security. If you have any questions, or need some support, call CFGB at 1-800-665-0377 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
EMCC is one of the fifteen members of CFGB and is thankful for the effectiveness of CFGB in the commendable goal of ending global hunger.
By Phil Delsaut
President, Evangelical Missionary Church of Canada