Iowa Native Farms and Educates in Zimbabwe
(Le Mars) -- Even though they farm their ground November through April, most of the principles are they same. Iowa native Larry Kies is the technical advisor for the farm at Africa University in Zimbabwe Africa. He spent time this week visiting United Methodist churches in Northwest Iowa, educating and talking with the people that support his ministry. Kies has been living portions of his life in Africa since 1976, after he graduated with a biology degree from Iowa State, and has been employed at Africa University since 2002. The student population is around 1,200, with 100 in the school of agriculture. On the schools farm they raise: corn, wheat, a little cotton, milks 14 cows, raises a few hogs and harvest 3,000 broaster chickens monthly. His farm operates at about the size of a small scale commercial farm in Zimbabwe.
When it comes to corn, Kies says Zimbabwe isn't behind the eight ball, but they haven't fully embraced the technology that's available either.
Kies added that Pioneer is one company that has been allowed in Zimbabwe.
Farms tend to be smaller in Zimbabwe than here in Iowa. A resource poor farm may be as small as 1 to 10 acres. Large commercial farms can be as big as 600 acres. The owning of land is not a right that the people of Zimbabwe have. Kies explains.
One of the current needs of Larry's ministry is a different tractor to replace 2 tractors with low horse power that don't work very well. Half of the money of the $32,000 needed, has been raised for the equipment. At the school, and throughout Zimbabwe, Kies says most of the farmers use 4 row equipment.
In the time that Larry has lived in Zimbabwe, much has changed concerning the economy. He tells about the most common denominations of money in 2008.
Now, Zimbabwe deals in US dollars, and $1 will buy you a decent loaf of bread.
To learn more about Larry Kies work, visit: http://www.umcmission.org/Explore-Our-Work/Missionaries-in-Service/Missionary-Profiles/Kies-Larry
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