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HOW FARMERS ARE BENEFITING FROM KULIMA PROJECT
By Aamon Butao
Some parents from Chiradzulu district have applauded the Kulima Project which has empowered them to fully support their children.
United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) UNICEF and the Ministry of Agriculture are implementing the project with funding from European Union.
In an interview with Timveni, one of the beneficiaries of the project, Evance John from Chinseu Village, in the area of Traditional Authority Kadewere in Chiradzulu, said his family has been transformed financially.
John, who is a community-based facilitator, said through the project he has ventured into agri-business which has empowered him to ably support his family.
According to John, he is able to pay school fees for his children and grandchildren by utilizing skills he acquired from the project.
He said before the project his family was in a miserable status as he could not manage to pay school fees for his children.
He added that some of his grandchildren were previously malnourished due to lack of nutritious food.
He said currently his horticulture business is thriving because it has ready, existing markets.
He said through modern agricultural practices, he is raising more money, citing an example of a tomato field which used to earn him MWK60, 000 per harvest, but currently earns him MWK 500,000 after undergoing the Kulima Project training.
John is not keeping this knowledge to himself, but is also imparting some skills to other farmers so that their families should be transformed for the better.
He also said he has currently built iron sheet-roofed house through the agri-business.
John has therefore encouraged farmers in the country to invest in agriculture for profitable gains and follow all modern farming practices to harvest more.
In her remarks, FAO Nutrition Officer for Chiradzulu, Esther Mthiko, said the Farmer Field School (FFS) Initiative has helped farmers in the district to harvest bumper yields.
FFS farmers are able to identify challenges in their fields and come up with solutions without using modern technologies.
Mthiko said food insecurity in the district is now history and farmers are actively using better ways of farming.
Reacting to all this, desk officer for the Kulima Project in Chiradzulu, Felix Chiudzu said currently through the project the district has 120 community based facilitators that are helping to impart farmers with better ways of farming.
The Kulima Project is being implemented in 10 districts including Karonga, Chitipa, Nkhata Bay and Nkhotakota.
It aims at promoting sustainable agricultural productivity and income-generation to enhance food and nutrition security in Malawi within the context of changing climate.
The project wants to train 600 farmer field master trainers and 8 thousand community-based facilitators by 2023.