Stories from the Mission Field

January 2020

Balaka Farm

So Much More than Just a Farm…

…has become of the 20-hectare Balaka Farm of the Baptist Convention of Malawi (BACOMA) after a solid two years. Under the leadership of our EBM missionary Karin Schwarz it has become a teaching and training farm for the poor rural population, a school of faith and life for young Malawians, and a knowledge centre for organic farming and medicinal plants.

The day for the team of ten young Malawians begins with a Bible study. The spiritual community gives the members of the young team orientation, life support, biblical values, and the invitation to accept Jesus as their Lord. Afterwards each member of the 10-member team goes about his or her tasks. This includes taking care of the chickens that lay about 100 eggs every day. These are sold in the farm shop, as well as natural healing plants including a manual. Karin Schwarz would like to move the farm shop directly to the national road so that she can attract even more customers for her products and make the farm more well known.

In the meantime, the team has rebuilt two old, dilapidated existing buildings into a teaching building and a house with 30 overnight accommodations. Seminars of three to ten days for the rural population take place here. This way the participants learn more about the use of native seeds or about the breeding and use of natural medicinal plants.

Furthermore, there is always a group of 15 interns who are trained for three months on the farm in organic farming. Here, too, the participants and interns hear God’s Word and experience what “farming God’s way” means. Karin Schwarz is an accredited “anamed trainer” for the cultivation and use of natural medicinal plants.

The farm team also produces its own compost and demonstrates on site how to achieve good yields without pesticides and artificial fertilizers. From the old dilapidated stables, the team has relocated six bee colonies to new hives, which means that the plants are well pollinated.

The farm has been owned by BACOMA for many decades. There have been two attempts to turn it into a profitable project. Both attempts failed. Now the concept is no longer to generate profit but to invest in people. Through this farm, BACOMA today combines the fight against hunger and evangelism in a unique way.

The farm is financed by donations that EBM INTERNATIONAL collects and passes on to the farm. The annual budget including the costs for our missionary and the salaries for the Malawian employees is approximately 50,000 Euros of which the farm already generates 10% of its own income. The donations for this farm are an investment in people and in the fight against hunger in one of the poorest countries in the world.