For farmers in northern Malawi, agriculture is a way of life and a means of survival. Today, farmers are finding it more and more challenging to grow enough food to feed their families as their climate continues to change and droughts become more common.
An innovative PWS&D and Canadian Foodgrains Bank (CFGB) agriculture project in Mpata region is providing real hope for the future—360 drought-affected farmers from across ten villages are learning how to grow more food, balance their diets and make what they have go farther.
Improving Farming Practices
Drought is a major concern in the region. To help farmers adapt, the project is teaching conservation agriculture techniques. Farmers using this method are encouraged to blanket their fields with mulch and organic fertilizer to help retain the soil’s moisture, prevent erosion, and deter weeds.
Farmers who have already received training will lead field days, which provide experienced farmers with the opportunity to pass on their knowledge in hopes that the entire community can benefit.
To further reduce vulnerability, farmers are contributing bricks, sand, water and labour to construct new seed banks. By storing seeds and food in the community seed banks, farmers will have reserves they can count on in case of a poor harvest
Through awareness campaigns, dramas and group discussions, farmers in each village are learning how to avoid food wastage by properly preserving and storing food, as well as managing pests that can destroy crops.
The Mpata drought mitigation project is working to reduce malnutrition by raising awareness of Malawi’s six food groups: staple (energy) foods, animal protein, legumes, vegetables, fats and oils, and fruits. Cooking demonstrations will encourage farmers to diversify their diets and cook nutritious meals using new foods.
The results are families who have more to eat, and better nutrition and health.
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