Manitoba farmer helping fund schools in Africa
The president of the Prairie Oat Growers Association donated the proceeds from 40 acres of canola to the Manyinga Project
By Diego Flammini
The president of the Prairie Oat Growers Association has donated nearly $30,000 to the Manyinga Project, which helps fund two schools for underprivileged children in Zambia.
Art Enns planted 40 acres of canola on his Morris, Man. farm this year, specifically to donate the proceeds to the schools in need. His final yield was 2,300 bushels or an average of 57 bushels per acre.
He sold the crop for $25,000 and donated the entire amount to the African school project.
In addition to farming, helping youth is at his core, Enns says.
“I’ve always had a soft spot for young children,” Enns told Farms.com today.
Art Enns stands next to the canola crop he donated to the Manyinga Project.
Photo: Manyinga Project
“Over the years, I’ve had 25 to 30 high school children work on my farm. I’ve always enjoyed teaching agriculture or allowing them to experience agriculture.”
Dr. Allan Ronald, an HIV researcher from the University of Manitoba, began the Manyinga Project in the 1990s after visiting his sister Marian, a nurse working in Zambia to help communities recover from HIV and AIDS outbreaks.
When the project started, there were 15 students enrolled in the schools. That number has grown to over 400 students.
Part of the Manyinga Project includes teaching children about agriculture and providing them with the tools and resources necessary to farming.
Enns’s donation will help pay for plough rentals, fertilizer and crop inputs, infrastructure improvements and for an agronomist to visit with students once per week.
And in a country where only 1.5 million (3.7 million acres) out of 42 million total hectares (103.8 million acres) are cultivated, helping students learn the fundamentals of farming can go a long way.
“Agriculture is the mainstay in Zambia,” Enns said. “For me to help fund an agriculture course out there … is so important to me.”
Donating the money to the cause gives Enns a sense of fulfillment, he said, adding that being able to see his donations in action firsthand would be an even greater experience.
“I don’t know if I’ll ever meet any of these kids, but that’s the goal,” he said. “It’s my dream. I definitely want to go out there, see what’s happening and make sure we continue the good work we’re doing.”
Local suppliers also made donations to help Enns have the best yield possible.
Canterra Seeds donated the seed, Paterson Grain donated granular fertilizer, OMEX Agriculture Inc. provided high performance plant nutrition, and GJ Chemical made a monetary contribution to help cover input costs.
Top photo: A school built in the Zambian community of Samafunda with proceeds from the Manyinga Project.