COPE Project Plan for a Wheel Tractor
To see a video of the arrival of the last two tractors, Click Here
Two Wheel Tractor Project:
A recent epidemic of hoof and mouth disease has destroyed most of the draft animals in many of the villages around Lusaka. Without draft animals, subsistence farmers have to use manual labor to prepare, plant, and harvest their crops of maize. This dramatically limits the amount of land they can cultivate. China pioneered the use of two wheeled tractors to improve agricultural outcomes. These same tractors are now being made available in Zambia. The tractors typically have two cylinder diesel engines which do not require much in the way of maintenance. A local farmer with a two wheeled tractor can prepare his or her own land in a much shorter span of time. This would allow them to then rent out their services to other local farmers. Thus the tractor owner not only improves their own harvest but the harvest of those around them. At the village level, the price for hiring a neighbor’s tractor services can be a portion of the harvest rather than hard cash. The tractors themselves have multiple uses. Besides plowing, the tractors can also be adapted to planting, cultivating, and harvesting. There is a wagon attachment that allows the tractor to pull harvests to the local market. The power takeoff can run water pumps or grain milling devices. A good entrepreneur can turn a two wheeled tractor into a flourishing business which not only helps the entrepreneur but provides a needed service to the village community.
The traditional crop of subsistence farmers is maize. Maize is a seasonal crop, and so there is opportunity to plant additional crops that either grow in the off-season, or extend the nutritional content available to the villagers. Moringa trees are a hearty, drought resistant shrub like tree that grows well in Zambia. The leaves of the Moringa tree are a great source of vitamin A which is a chronic deficiency in Zambian children. It is sometimes called the most useful tree in the world because besides the leaf, there are uses for seeds, bark, and branches. It takes about two years for the tree to reach maturity, but after that it produces constantly. Another alternative crop can be fresh vegetables. Fresh vegetables are in high demand in the villages, but normally are hard to grow because they need irrigation during the dry time of the year. If a villager has access to a pump or a two wheeled tractor that can run a pump then they can successfully grow a high demand crop that meets the nutritional needs of their fellow villagers. One of our members has recently been trained and certified in sustainable vegetable cultivation which uses just a fraction of the irrigation needed in traditional farming methods. This skill will be shared with interested farmers in our target villages. Soy beans also have potential. Not only are they a source of food, but they can easily be converted into biodiesel, which is the main fuel for the two wheel tractors. Thus, the two wheel tractor program can become self-sustaining. There are several other crop alternatives in Zambia that Project COPE would explore with local agricultural
Our vision for the future implementation of just the Tractor Project
The key point in marketing Project COPE is the emphasis on supporting entrepreneurial development in Zambia. Project COPE is not charity but a business incubator that is focused on creating local economies that use incentives to accomplish the goals of improving health, sanitation, and wealth. The plan is to use the main website of Project COPE to bring Zambian entrepreneurs into contact with Americans who share their entrepreneurial spirit. Each Zambian entrepreneur would make their business proposal on the website. Interested Americans can read the business proposal and engage in personal contact with the entrepreneur. This could be through cell phone or Internet.
By having direct contact between American funders and the Zambian entrepreneurs, Project COPE will create new relationships that not only break down distances but create the opportunity for discussions about the development of business and economic incentives. Americans can share their knowledge of business goals and plans while helping to develop the skills of the Zambian entrepreneur. The Zambian entrepreneur will provide the excitement and drama of building economic dreams in a new economic frontier.
Project COPE would market the connection through social media sites like Facebook. Initially it would not take very many Americans or very much money to get the program started. Project COPE has vowed to make no promises it cannot keep nor to collect more money than can be productively used in creating local economies in Zambia. Because the connection will be directly between the American funder and the Zambian entrepreneur, overhead will be extremely low.
One of the main attractors to working directly with local village entrepreneurs is that Americans can follow their money throughout the entire process. Often times when we donate to large NGOs we can never be certain if our dollar goes to help a starving child or buy lunch for the CEO. All the money goes into the same pot. With Project COPE the donated money goes directly to the entrepreneur with whom the American donor has a direct relationship.