The livelihood of about 16,000 Malawian farming households based in Lilongwe, Ntchisi and Nkhata Bay districts, is expected to improve by 2021 through market driven farming, use of Digital Platforms for Agri-services and Trade and management of ecosystems to manage natural resources.
All this is courtesy of Transforming Household Resilience In Vulnerable Environments (THRIVE), a five year project jointly implemented by World Vision Malawi, Vision Fund Malawi and Farm Concern International.
THRIVE Project Manager, Kondwani Chapotera, told stakeholders in the Capital Lilongwe on Thursday that the project systematically tracks the targeted households out of poverty by parsuing the commercial project mode of building yourself livelihood.
“We want farmers to be managers of their own farming businesses. They should know all the actors in their business cycle that include seed suppliers, service providers and marketers. We want farmers to be producing for the market especially when there is demand for their products,” said Chapotera.
He added that THRIVE wants farmers to be managers for ecosystems in managing natural resources by ensuring that they practice off-farm and on-farm natural resources management.
“Farmers are mostly operating in environments where they are unable to forsee circumstances. So, we are helping them through early warning signs and indigenous knowledge to manage risks. We want farmers to be risk managers,” he said.
Chapotera further said all this is aimed at changing the mindset of farmers in terms of managing their farming enterprises.
“We are helping them in interrogating their belief systems and traditional practices that affected their growth.
“It is encouraging that they are now taking up modern farming technologies that we have introduced to them. They have understood the need to taking up new farming initiatives due to climate variations”.
Director for Africa Operations at Farm Concern International, David Ruchiu, concurred with Chapotera, adding that Digital Platforms for Agri-services and Trade are the way to go for improved farming for small holder farmers in Sub Saharan Africa countries like Malawi.
According to Ruchiu, these digital platforms have come about after noticing a huge gap in extension worker to farmer ratio, which, he said, made farmers fail to conduct good farming practices due to lack of knowledge.
He explained that by the use of a simple Android phone, which most rural dwellers can afford, farmers can access good farm management practices right from seed selection to post harvest handling through a software on their phones loaded with information of all value chains being promoted under the THRIVE project.
Taking his turn, Director of Programs for World Vision Malawi, Charles Chimombo, said the THRIVE project has had a substantial impact in rural communities, having successfully changed the mindset of farmers in terms of agriculture and food security.
“We have noted that incomes for the farming households have improved. Two years ago, the average income per household was just about a dollar. It is now at least three dollars.
“The consumption of food, especially the consumption of the six food groups has also improved. In addition, farmers are now creating assets and able to pay school fees for their children,” said Chimombo.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :