Scores of farmers in Chingale Extension Planning Area (EPA) in Zomba are improving their incomes and lives through various interventions that the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development are implementing in the area under the Strengthening Community Resilience to Climate Change project
According to Agriculture Extension Development Coordinator for Chingale EPA, Lovemore Binali, strengthening community resilience to climate change is crucial to achieving food security in the area.
“Through irrigation structures that have been established under the project, farmers are now able to grow maize, tomatoes and other vegetables. A successful goat pass-on programme is also going on. Farmers have also been trained to make compost manure and are using energy cooking stoves, a development that is helping to arrest the wanton cutting down of trees in this area,” said Binali during a tour to the project implementation sites within the EPA.
In addition to the interventions, farmers and extension workers have been working together in identifying hotspots where they have constructed check dams, planted vertiver and bananas on many of the gullies in the area in order to arrest the problem of soil erosion.
Binali further pointed out that the project is supporting 38 irrigation schemes in various sections of the EPA to enable members of farmer field schools produce more out of crops of their choice.
“The farmers are supported with all relevant materials to undertake various ways of irrigating their crops. For instance, there are 8 sippage wells in Malasa Section alone. The farmers are also trained by capacitated extension workers on modern methods of farming and how they can identify and properly care for crops that suit climates for their respective areas,” explained Binali.
A visit to Kapako A irrigation scheme in Village Head Sikinala in Traditional Authority Mlumbe, showed farmers busy in their irrigation scheme, utilizing a sippage well that has been dug up and treadle pumps, pipes and a water tank that have been provided to enable the 34 members of the farmer field school to irrigate their tomatoes, maize and potatoes.
Lead farmer for Malasa Section in Chingale EPA, Willie Makasu, said each member of the farmer field school has been allocated a quarter of a hectare at the scheme and that a farmer would make over K3 million after investing only K40, 000.
“This is the only way we hope to amass our own fortunes and supplement our crop produce from rain fed farming which is heavily affected by climate change nowadays. I urge many other farmers to emulate what their colleagues are doing here because with the support being provided farmers here are empowered to fight poverty, hunger and malnutrition,” he said.
The Strengthening Community Resilience to Climate Change project’s goal is to build the resilience of vulnerable smallholder farmers to climate variability and change in order to secure their socio-economic well-being and improve their livelihoods.
With funding from the European Union (EU) the implementers are providing technical, social, financial and material support to the farmers through transformative community empowerment outreach processes such as the Farmer Field School.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :