Malawi govt takes economic investment to rural communities

Government says it  will continue rolling out  development   programmes which have potential to pull  the rural masses out of poverty cocoon.

A bull, Bonsmara feeding at Nkhamaga Livestock club
A bull, Bonsmara feeding at Nkhamaga Livestock club
Minister of local government Kondwani Nankhumwa at the Khola admiring the Bonsmara
Minister of local government Kondwani Nankhumwa at the Khola admiring the Bonsmara

The commitment was registered  Monday by Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Kondwani Nankhumwa when he visited Nkhamanga Livestock Club in the area of Chief Mwaulambia, in Chitipa District.

Nkhamanga Live Stock Club is supported by Nyama Word, with resources  from Rural Livelihoods and Economic Enhancement Programme (RLEEP) through its ambitious  Agriculture  Commercialization Fund.

The Agriculture Commercialization Fund  commits  resources to facilitate improvement of   cattle breed  for maximum livestock production.

The Minister observed that  besides the on-going implementation  of infrastructure development projects across the country, aimed at uplifting  people’s  living standards ,  it was also  important that government intensively  invests  in programmes  tailor-made to promote household economy of the rural people to promote their livelihoods.

He, therefore,  said government launched RLEEP to support rural people who engage in income generating activities such as commercial  livestock farming  to ensure their economic self-reliance.

The Minister , however,  said it was pleasing to note that most farmers organized into livestock clubs have easy access to assistance from RLEEP  through a meat processing company, Nyama World.

Under the Commercialization of Smallholder Beef Producers in Northern Malawi Project, Nyama World has clinched  a concession to build capacity of smallholder farmers who engage in livestock farming.

One of key roles played by  Nyama World in promoting livestock production in rural communities is to  help livestock clubs in  cross-breeding  their  Malawi Zebu cows with South African hybrid bulls, the  Bonsmara.

Said Nankhumwa, ”when livestock farmers cross–breed their animals, they will rare  cattle which will bring them a lot of profit through meat and milk and this will improve the economic status of the rural communities.”

RLEEP National Programme Director, Dixon Ngwende said the main objective of the Commercialization of Smallholder Beef Producers Project is to help smallholder farmers maximize  benefit from  livestock farming  to relieve themselves from  the pangs of poverty.

Ngwende said the project emphasizes on the need to improve the local breed of beef animals by cross-breeding the Malawi Zebu with the Bonsmara, through artificial insemination  and service of  Bonsmara bulls themselves.

Said Ngwende, “Live stock farmers who term The Malawi Zebu can not economically prosper in their enterprises because the animals are naturally  too  boney, which is worsened by their low growth rate .”

The Director then strongly urged  livestock clubs to cross-bred their animals with the Bonamara which he said have good meat characteristic coupled by high growth rate to make farmers realize good returns from their animals at the  market..

Senior Chief Kameme commended government for launching the project which he said will change mind set of the rural people who looked at animals, especially cattle, as a source of decoration  or kept them for prestige and not wealth.

“With this project, days will be  far gone when families used to languish in abject poverty when they boasted  a hundred herd of cattle,” joked Kameme.

The Senior Chief then appealed to the people  in Chitipa to take advantage of the project to organize themselves into many livestock clubs to benefit from the initiative to alleviate poverty at household level.

Other activities lined-up in the project are building capacity of smallholder livestock farmers in livestock management, in terms of housing and  feeding,  agro-business, exploring viable markets for the farmers and improving  access to animal health services.

Another very important component is to equip local veterinary extension staff and ultimately farmers with skills of heat detection, Artificial Insemination (AI) pregnancy diagnosis and disease control.

Bank-rolled by International Fund for Agriculture Development, (IFAD) the  project, implemented in Chitipa, Karonga and Rumphi Districts, intends to commercialize beef production for  3,000  smallholder livestock farmers.

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