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Newsletter No. 2, April 2022

Dear Friends,
The worldwide Covid-19 epidemic has forced us to make changes at Tiko and amongst other things to look into the effects of the loss of income from the lodge and restaurant. With Lydia, a livestock officer in Katete, and Christine, a long-time hard-working member of Tiko, I went to Uganda for a weeklong course given by Dr. Emma Naluyima to learn how we can make the best possible use of the land and demonstrate the methods used to others…

Dear Friends,

The worldwide Covid-19 epidemic has forced us to make changes at Tiko and amongst other things to look into the effects of the loss of income from the lodge and restaurant. With Lydia, a livestock officer in Katete, and Christine, a long-time hard-working member of Tiko, I went to Uganda for a weeklong course given by Dr. Emma Naluyima to learn how we can make the best possible use of the land and demonstrate the methods used to others. The internet video of Dr Emma’s TED lecture will show you why we went to Uganda. To pay for this trip, I used my nest egg, which is part my pension fund, and which is meant for medical needs, should they arise. We learnt a very great deal which is already being put to use at Tiko.


Otto Mille has given Euro 1000 to us for COMMUNICATION AND VISIBILITY, so, in anticipation of having some new methods to teach to Eastern Zambians, I went to Radio Breeze, a popular local commercial radio station in Chipata. I paid for four sessions to get attention, two before we went and two after the trip to Uganda. Ideally, after this we will have courses to teach, and money to charge, so if we start now, it will be less than a shock. People were invited to visit Tiko and order products they might want.


When Chiefs are invited, one knows that in this country the official opening will be up to 4 hours later. So, while waiting for the Chiefs (one of whom had apologized in person the day before), we enjoyed:

Listening to the Tiko women’s choir, watching the women performing the Chitelele women’s dance and …

listening to volunteer Rey playing his clarinet (left picture).

On the arrival of Chief Katumba, one of the three main chiefs of Katete district, the meeting was opened by Kapauka Nyirenda. After this Elke gave the reasons for holding this first Tiko Open Day and Lydia explained what people were going to see. Thobwa, a local non-alcoholic fermented drink based on maize, was served to the guests who then toured the five stations.

No. 1 Hydroponic fodder – sprouted maize, a cheap fodder for cattle and other livestock. Grown in shallow trays without soil 1 k of maize yields six kg of excellent fodder, which, suppresses the methane produced by the stomachs especially of cows.

Esther explains the stages in the growth of maize shoots in a series of trays while Elke looks on.
Aledi carries a tray of almost ready fodder while Doris explains further to the interested onlookers

Many questions were answered and Chief Katumba declared to his entourage that he wanted to
produce such fodder.

No. 2 Worms – these can be induced to be productive by being given manure to eat. In three weeks they produce humus, the ideal soil to grow the best vegetables. They also produce VERMI LIQUID, which serves as both fertilizer and pest control.

No. 3 Vegetable growing rings – These growing rings in Uganda inspired us to use such rings at Tiko. They are filled with Tiko-made compost, small stones to hold the water and the humus from the worms and are used to grow potatoes, sweet potatoes and other vegetables in a small space, where they are easy to water.

The growing rings we saw in Uganda.
Small growing rings at Tiko outside David’s Den, waiting for seeds.
Growing ring with a mesh cage to protect the plant from the neighbours’ chickens.
Trays holding the larvae which are being sorted.

No. 4 Maggots – these are the larvae of the black soldier fly. They contain 40 % protein with a production timeline of less than 30 days. Adult black soldier flies live only up to 7 days and are kept in the mating cage. They do not eat but do drink water. After mating the males die. The females die after laying their eggs in clumps of 500 or more on pieces of wood called EGGIES, which are placed on brewer’s yeast which is attractive to them. The resulting larvae are fed on chicken manure and maize bran every two days. Unlike many flies’ black soldier flies do not bite or spread diseases.

The pupae are taken to the mating chamber where they emerge as adult flies. Their eggs are taken to the feeding shed where they hatch larvae or maggots. These are fed on chicken manure and maize bran until they are ready to be fed to livestock (after 12 days) or to pupate (after 19 days). The pupae are taken to the mating cage where they hatch into flies and the cycle is repeated. Since the larvae or maggots eat any rotting organic matter, they are perfectly suited to clean up left-over food and the Tiko crew are encouraged to take a dish with a lid that is not properly closed to attract flies and with their eggs and finally maggots.

Outside the building housing mating chambers Christine explains the processes involved in producing black soldier fly maggots.

No. 5 Azolla – a tiny free floating water fern, which fixes atmospheric nitrogen and grows incredibly fast. Azolla contains 25-35% protein. All that is needed is a simple shallow pond, water and cow dung, and one can harvest one kg of feed a day from a small pond.

Guests beside the Azolla Pond.

Maggots and azolla are unique in reproducing within days, while other insects that also produce protein, take weeks.

The plan was to have discussions after the visit, but the guests had been so actively involved at the stations that they then went directly to lunch, the Chief and the chiefs’ entourages having their meal in the Guest Rondavel. Tradition demands that they eat apart, to prevent any attempt on their lives.

Everyone at Tiko is very excited because one of my close friends was so moved by Susan’s story that she funded the entire project! This gives all of the Tiko crew hope for the future that they too may get their projects funded. In the meantime, I am working to finish as many videos as I can before I leave in late March.The day would have been perfect but for circumstances beyond Tiko’s control. The most distressing one was the recent death of the Katete District Commissioner in a traffic accident. This meant that there could be no official participation or media attending. The Department of Agriculture will be represented at the next open day which is planned for the beginning of May and this event and will hopefully be attended by national TV. By that time the hydroponic fodder production unit should be in action, as will the maggot producing facility. There will be many more worms producing humus, many more vegetable growing rings, not forgetting azolla and our new shop which will be open. We also hope to process and sell chicken feed commercially when we have acquired the three machines needed for this.

Tkio’s financial situation is precarious. We hope to get help with the payment of these machines with CROWDFUNDING, but that is still in the stars.


Tiko had a party for Rey and Genevieve, our wonderful first volunteers since covid, who helped us tremendously. Rey came in January and took over our DONORSEE project that we had not managed to run. DONORSEE shows short videos of Tiko crew members each asking for one thing they badly need, while in a second video they say thank you when they have received the donation. Go to:

Since Rey left, the crew have produced a technically perfect video themselves. Only Vitalina, who is asking for a proper window frame in the place of the bricks, looks like a refugee: Traditionally, when you ask the locals to let you take their photo, they stand to attention and look very very serious. Not one smile in that video, and that in spite of the fact that the need for smiles was stressed by Rey verbally and in writing. Tradition is very very strong There are now ten computer guys at Tiko, who are trying to continue what they learned.

Genevieve, from Sydney, came in March. Her visit happened because Alan from Melbourne had told her about us (thanks Alan). She also helped us with IT skills, which will help us forever: For instance, the accounts team learned to use excel properly, zikomo kwambiri Genius!

The computer group with Rey and Genevieve. This group certainly know how to smile!

There is much more, but just look at our new logo in the heading above to see how Genevieve worked hard for Tiko. Tiko had its traditional Easter general meeting at 12.00 hrs on Saturday. Salaula (pre-loved clothing) had been distributed in the morning – thanks to Rey and Genevieve who brought big supplies and to our friends in Guernsey, who had sent lovely knitwear for small children, all gratefully received. – Thanks to Ulrike there is another packet from Germany on the way, we are asking at the post office regularly. More such packages have been announced!

The crew did a short survey on where Tiko now stands – looking towards bankruptcy with covid, trying to raise improved village chickens when inflation made any profit impossible and now working hard on becoming producers of affordable chicken feed thanks to climate-smart integrated agriculture, with a second OPEN DAY in May. The faces of the crew indicated that truly there is hope at Tiko.

The crew also got a kilo of sugar each – one luxury they cannot afford, but then there are less teeth being pulled recently, it seems, than in the past, the traditional way of dealing with holes in teeth. Yes, we are in a different world here, but right now it seems that we are not in a bad part of the world. Our sympathies to our colleagues in Sri Lanka, who are looked after by Alan as well – to be without any medicine is definitely too much.

With very best wishes for the coming summer or winter in the developed world. We wish you hope and thank you for giving hope to us.


Elke and the Tiko Crew

– For donation information please have a look on ‘Support Tiko’ and our new Tiko fundraising page at DonorSee

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