Africa (MNN) — A major drought in Africa is wreaking havoc on lives and land. The Guardian says in South Africa, it may be the worst drought in the past 35 years.
Over the next few months, the food crisis is predicted to become a dire issue. Right now, food and lives are hanging onto a rocky surface.
“We’re trying to educate and get everybody aware of what’s happening so that we can get ahead of it and prepare and hopefully save lives,” Global Aid Network’s (GAiN) Mark Gaither says.
The ministry is helping stabilize food sources in nations hit by the drought.
They’re handing out seed packets to communities, and bringing in drip irrigation water systems to promote healthy growth for the seeds. Using this system, people can grow gardens with a lot less water and labor.
Communities depend on rain, runoff, rivers, and creeks. But, as the drought scorches the land and dries up water sources, it’s becoming more difficult to even get a bucket of water.
GAiN helps to drill and repair wells, which entire communities depend upon.
“There are thousands of wells all over Africa that go down deep enough, but for whatever reason, they fall into disrepair.”
Though wells are good for drinking water, they can have adverse affects to crops. A person may carry a five-gallon bucket of water to their garden and drench it but, “Unfortunately, when you do that, the vast majority of that water soaks in, runs off into the dry ground, that’s far away from the roots, or evaporates. The amount of water the plants are actually getting is minuscule compared to what you’re pouring.”
That’s why drip irrigation water systems are mandatory to drought affected areas. The technology slowly gives off bits of water, which saturate the roots with the right amount of water and keep them moist for hours.
The results are incredible, says Gaither.
“The same water that you’re irrigating or using will grow ten-times the amount of food because of the technology.”
GAiN is sending seed packets with no GMOs and open-pollination, which will encourage vegetable growth and raise seed quality in the countries.
With the help of the local church and indigenous ministry partners, GAiN is using the food security program as a way to share the love and Word of Jesus.
They are giving three seed packets to ministry partners and people in the church – one to keep and two to give away. When volunteers hand out seed packets, they tell people how much Jesus loves them and that He is providing these seeds for them. Then, the people are invited to watch a viewing of The JESUS Film. Many have come to Christ because of this.
“The local church and our ministry partners, indigenous local partners, would then follow up for discipleship, and then churches would plant and grow as a result of planting vegetables.”
However, there are some setbacks.
“Some countries are, because they’re struggling financially, they’re looking at all humanitarian aid coming in as a potential source of tax revenue. And so in some places where we try to ship food, they’re trying to tax at a rate of 70-percent,” Gaither explains.
“That is a ministry killer because then, instead of much-needed ministry dollars going directly to the people who are receiving the benefit of the humanitarian aid, the vast majority of that is going into government commerce, and who knows what’s going to happen?”
The next few months could promise drought and food insecurity. But, with your help, it could instead result in months of flourishing.
Pray for government officials to decrease taxes on humanitarian aid being brought in, and for the rains to start again.
Also, an exciting opportunity to send seeds has presented itself through GAiN.
“For no cost, thanks to a generous donor, you can go and learn about our seed program, choose from one of three countries where we’re sending seeds, then participate and you will be sending a seed pack to a needy family in the country of your choice. And then, as we then fulfill, we ship the seeds, deliver the seeds, you’ll get follow up information on where those seeds have gone and hopefully what has happened.”