Self Help Africa Helps Farmers of Thyolo, Mulanje
The socio-economic wellbeing of 84, 000 households in Mulanje and Thyolo is said to have improved through a five-year 'Kulima Better Project' implemented by the Self-Help Africa.
Thyolo district council vice chairperson, Hudson Ovila and Director of Agriculture, Environment and Natural Resources, Jackson Nkombezi attest, the project has improved income, food security and nutrition status for the targeted farming families.
As the project phases out this December, Nkombezi indicated that among others, the project has reached out to farming families with extension services and technologies and renovated four irrigation schemes which were also destroyed by the Tropical cyclones in the district this year.
"Farmers have been reached out with extension services using these community-based facilitators. Secondly, a number of irrigation schemes were destroyed by the impact of Tropical cyclones; Self Help Africa came forward to rehabilitate four schemes and farmers are very happy," Nkombezi attested.
This came out on Wednesday after a community exit meeting in Senior Chief Kapichi in the district.
Self Help Africa Project Manager, Lasnet Nathan, says apart from providing start-up capital, they have been using the Farmer Field School (FFS) approach to equip 84, 000 farmers in two districts with knowledge on farming technologies and business including banana restoration.
"We were targeting mainly on enhancing agricultural extension through the farmer field methodology and promoting issues of gender and nutrition, but also promoting village savings and loans", he said.
Both Mitengo FFS Community-based facilitator, Joseph Mandewere, and Khokhola FFS chairperson, Francis Mwakeya have touted improved nutrition, financial gains and independence through farming and Village Savings and Loans (VSL) initiative.
Implemented in 10 other districts of Karonga, Chitipa, Mzimba South and North, Kasungu, Nkhatabay, Chiradzulu, Salima, Nkhotakota, Thyolo and Mulanje, the KULIMA Better Project from 2018, targeted to reach out to 402,000 smallholder farmers with skills, locally based knowledge, savings and loans facilities.