The Challenge -  Extreme climate, degenerated soil, and inability to afford seeds, inputs and capital equipment.

In the remote, rural areas of Malawi, more than 90% of the villagers rely on rain-fed subsistence farming to survive, and hunger is common.

There is only one “rainy” season each year - usually expected from November to March, and the single annual maize harvest depends on the quality of these rains. Maize is the major crop here, and the basis for “nsima” the staple diet, the thick, heavy, carbohydrate basis for most meals, usually eaten rolled in a little “relish” - a vegetable or meat accompaniment.

But the climate can be erratic, volatile and increasingly unpredictable - ranging from devastating floods to searing drought.

Maize crop yields have been dropping as villagers wrestle with the combined challenges of extreme weather, over- dependence on the single crop, declining soil fertility, shortage of land, seed, and high costs of chemical inputs as prices soar...

Impoverished soil

Agri training - above: preparing a compost pit, below: practical planting

Agri-training: preparing a compost pit

We help:

  • Promoting conservation farming - we've trained in minimum tillage, composting, specific planting, covering with mulch, crop rotation and diversification.
  • Promoting seed multiplication - encouraging villagers to plant to increase seed availability, adopting a policy of retaining seed for the next plant rather than automatically eating when there's plenty, wasting, or selling...
  • Promoting and growing moringa - a tree with leaves packed with essential nutrients - vits A & C, protein, calcium, iron & potassium - as a free green vegetable.
  • Promoting reforestation - helps agricultural progress by soil enrichment and stability, reducing water evaporation and protection from severe weather, as well as producing valuable end results - timber, firewood, and nutrition.
  • Promoting good livestock care - over the years we've trained in best care, and supplied chickens, goats, and rabbits. Currently we're breeding local pigs, with the piglets being passed into the community to households trained to look after them well, producing valuable food and a source of income to help stir the local economy and enable families to provide for their own needs. It's a pass-on project, regulated so each family passes on an agreed number of piglets from their first litter to another vulnerable household, who in turn eventually passes on offspring to others...

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