Living in a metropolitan, we seldom pay attention on agricultural development. In fact, our lives are dependent on hard working farmers. Could you imagine what would happen if farmers all over the world take a one-week holiday?
Affected by chronic internal armed conflict, northern, southern and southeastern parts of Myanmar faced harmful consequences leading to destruction of community livelihood and land. Family can hardly stabilise their income, whereas many children were malnourished.
CEDAR’s partner, Myanmar Family Development Company Limited (MFDC), has been teaching community representatives from these areas organic farming methods that would restore soil quality and improve crop yield at their training centre near Yangon. In recent years, the training center began to apply teachings of the Bible to teach community representatives from these areas to practise crop rotation, in order to preserve Sabbath for land, recovery of soil quality and yield improvement.
Letting the land rest would let it recover its soil fertility naturally. Growing different crops on rotations would ensure the multitude of nutrients within the soil, while reducing the buildup of pests and pathogens that is commonly related to monocropping.
“People thought I was crazy when I first started trying (the method), but after two years of hard work, I finally reap a good harvest, and the others gained interest to learn too,” former participant of the training, Saw Mg Lay shares during a training session. He said with crop rotation and organic fertilisers, they get healthy and nutritious produce. Villagers were willing to try too because the method did not require a high cost. And throughout the process, they learned the detrimental impact of synthesized fertilisers on the land.
Speak to the Israelites and say to them: When you enter the land I am going to give you, the land itself must observe a sabbath to the Lord. For six years sow your fields, and for six years prune your vineyards and gather their crops. But in the seventh year the land is to have a year of sabbath rest, a sabbath to the Lord. Do not sow your fields or prune your vineyards. Do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the grapes of your untended vines. The land is to have a year of rest. (Leviticus 25:2-6)
In Leviticus, the Lord ordered the Israelites to let the land to “observe a Sabbath to the Lord”, meaning they would not sow, prune, reap, or harvest anything and let it grow naturally. We could see how the land have a way of rehabilitating itself naturally. As God’s stewards on earth, we should not treat the land as a commodity and abuse its natural resources; instead, we should learn to put it in God’s hands and let the land have its Sabbath rest.
- Although we seldom come in close contact with famers or farms in Hong Kong, we are still daily consumers of land produce like vegetables and fruits. Try to be aware of the origin or even the farming methods of the produce when you purchase them this week and see if they’re produced in God-intended ways.
- Nearly all of our consumables come from the land in one way or the other, such as farm produce, petroleum byproducts (plastic, cosmetics, cleaning detergents, or synthetic fabrics). Pay attention to what degree do you rely on the land, and practise reducing the use of these products.
We encourage you to take ownership of the problem and donate to CEDAR and its partners in Asia and Africa who faithfully bring about the reconciliation of the land through eco-friendly agricultural projects.
Oh Lord, how amazing is Your creation! The land has such a great ecosystem to support the lives on it and provide for us our daily bread. Remind us that all people are equally dependent on the land, be it the farmers or us living in the cities. So we should manage the land better and not abuse its resources to our convenience, but to take from it in ways You have intended for us. Please forgive us when we are weak and selfish, and we pray for the Holy Spirit to help us in reconciling with the land.
We pray that You would bless our partner MFDC’s work, who is faithful in rebuilding livelihoods in post-war areas via crop rotation and organic farming trainings for the community representatives. We pray that the representatives would share the knowledge with their communities, and that You would help them to correctly implement the methods and improve the quality of their land and crop yield, which would in turn bless their living conditions and children suffering from malnutrition. Amen.