Livestock farmers from four districts of the Southern Region successfully completed a two-week intensive training as Community Animal Health Workers courtesy of funding from World Vision International (WVI) in collaboration with the Malawi Government’s Department of Animal Health and Livestock Development.
The 63 trained farmers from Mulanje, Chiradzulu, Neno and Balaka are expected to perform duties of extension workers in their respective communities as one way of increasing such agricultural advisors that the Government has in place in the rural areas.
Each of the selected farmers have been provided with five goats as a pass on programme in which once the goats produce offsprings they have to pass on to the next line of beneficiaries.
This next line of beneficiaries has already been identified and they have been imparted with the authority to monitor the management of this pass on livestock system as checks and balances so that the programme should not be abused.
Done from February 24 to March 6 at Vicky Motel in Lunzu, Blantyre, the farmers were given certificates of completion after passing through three assessment examinations done by senior Government extension workers from their respective districts.
At the graduation ceremony on Friday, February 6 at Vicky Motel, the farmers’ representative, Tony Kanguwo applauded World Vision for the training, saying in the absence of government extension workers, they didn’t know how to deal with diseases that attacked their livestock.
“We go back home with new knowledge and skills on how to manage our livestock and how to deal with any outbreak of diseases,” he said.
“We have learnt that humans themselves can pass on certain diseases to livestock and vice-versa and it is now up to us to pass on this knowledge and skills we have learnt to our fellow farmers back home.
“Rest be assured that we will endeavor to reduce or even eradicate livestock deaths by spreading the skills we have learnt through organizing community meetings in conjunction with our traditional leaders.”
Kanguwo said they have also been impressed to try other livestock for farming such as rabbits, turkey, guinea fowl, which are also very rewarding since they fetch a lot on the market in urban cities.
Guest of honour, Edwin Nkhulungo, who is Chief Animal Health and Livestock Development Officer implored on the farmers to go back home and share the skills they have learnt because the fight against livestock deaths can be achieved if everyone is aware of how to manage their animals.
“Ii won’t help at all if you keep this knowledge just to yourselves because once other kraals from sorrounding villages are attacked, even yours can be affected through infections.
“So, in order to protect your interests, it is prudent that you make sure that you share this knowledge with the rest of your communities and report on those that may not be adhering to the government extension workers.”
He also implored on them not to sell the goats and other livestock that they have been given up until they pass on to the next line of beneficiaries in order to sustain this excellent initiative from World Vision.
The same advice was echoed by World Vision’s Food Security & Resilience Technical Programme Manager Francis Kasangu Nkhoma, who impressed on them that Malawians can create wealth if they work in solidarity.
He told the farmers that rural people can get out of their poverty if they have a positive mindset change on how they can improve their style of livelihood.
“Go and assist your fellow farmers,” he said. “Don’t be selfish but share the knowledge and at the end of the day you shall reap mutual benefits.
“Once others will see some economic change in you because of the new style of animal farming you shall be doing, they will definitely get inspired to learn the skills you will be doing without even you approaching them.
“We are ready, together with the Government, to come to you for further assistance where it will be needed that is beyond your capabilities because we exist in order to develop the communities from poverty to prosperity.
“But it has to start with ourselves by making sure we work in solidarity just like how the developed world did — they developed through systems likes this,” he said.
He also impressed them that WVI, the global NGO brand established in 1982 in Malawi and currently working in all 28 districts through 39 Area Programmes and Grant supported projects, support the underprivileged communities by empowering them through wealth creation, food security, health and education
“This training is about food security and wealth creation through proper livestock management and the pass on programme.
“Show your appreciation for this training by making sure you share what you have learnt with others in your communities and you shall immensely reap good fruits from the investment that you have been empowered with,” Kasangu Nkhoma said.
Also present was District Development Manager for Department of Animal Health and Livestock Development Samson Semu, who also emphasized that the training they have undergone was very invaluable and if shared can help the rural areas to properly manage their livestock.
He said this will also ease the burden of the government extension workers, who are very few against a huge population of farmers.
“In Mulanje alone, where I concentrate my duties on, we have over 194,000 smallholder farmers but we only have three extension workers.
“It is almost the same in all other districts but now that we have you, our work will be much easier because we shall only visit you upon request and when the problem is beyond your capabilities.
“Let me assure you that livestock farming is very rewarding if properly managed,” Semu said.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :