IMPROVING FARMING TECHNIQUES

There is no formal, official economic development apparatus at the local level in Malawi. Growth programmes are often tied to internationally-agreed targets and delivered by international NGOs (non-governmental organisations), over the heads of people on the ground – literally, the subsistence farmers of places such as Malenga Mzoma.

Three meals a day is a rarity in Malenga Mzoma; most people survive on two, but one in eight get only one daily meal.

The quickest route to solving hunger is to help farmers make better use of their land to increase yield and variety.

The Foundation runs five demonstration fields where 16 lead farmers learn modern organic techniques under the guidance of Andrew Kamanga, a retired government agriculture adviser.

The lead farmers then teach others in a cascade system.

  • Crop rotation is taught and ‘slash and burn’ land clearance is barred.
  • The Foundation lends out a tiller to initially break hard ground.
  • Experimentation with crops on the Foundation’s own land helps identify the best crops to plant from both a yield and a nutrition perspective.

Our most recent innovation is the introduction of bokashi, a method of creating biofertilizer.

Kennas Jim and Vincent Mphande from the Foundation team were trained by the renowned Juanfran Lopez (see juanfranlopez.com) as part of a plan to create fertile soil and enable the poorest farming families to utilise their asset – their land – to both feed themselves properly and generate a surplus to sell.

(See also our post Growing better plants.)

The images show Kennas’s mustard plants before and after biofertiliser was applied.

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