Contributed by Davie Phiri

On 21st March, 2019, The Multisectoral food and nutrition security project (1015) conducted a field day in Chilembwe village, T/A Nankumba in Mangochi District with a purpose of showcasing to distinguished stakeholders the various interventions that the project engages with farmers at community level. The function took place at the household of Mrs. Rose Kazembe. Selected project beneficiaries from all 10 villages in Nkope site were invited and attended the function which was co-hosted by Mbwadzulu EPA officers. Participants comprised 10 village headmen, 2 GVHs, 1 Forest Assistant, 4 EPA staff, 3 Kusamala Extension Officers and the various project beneficiaries.

The field day was organized under the theme Nzotheka kukolora zochuluka pamalo ochepa pogwiritsa ntchito manyowa (it is possible to have bumper yields on a small piece of land using manure)

Tour and deliberations

On her organic staple field, She planted maize in permanent beds and inter-cropped with legumes. This was the first site to be visited and and the size of her field is 10m by 15m. The owner explained to the gathering that she had only applied compost manure to the maize and realized such a good crop stand with high quality cobs. She intercropped with groundnuts and soya bean to fix nitrogen into the soil and also act as diggers. She also planted pumpkin to act as ground cover alongside the mulch for water conservation. She also had another larger field of similar nature which measured 16m by 30m.

Then the participants appreciated her fruit trees which included 6 mangos, 3 papaya and 3 avocado pears planted around the homestead. She explained that the fruits were provided by Zankhalango association and mentioned that once they are ready, consumption of the fruits will improve health through consumption.

The crew visited her rabbits. The khola had 7 rabbits (1 buck, 1doe and 5 bunnies). The khola was well ventilated and spacious. She explained that the rabbits were on pass-on program such that at some point she would have to pass on 2 rabbits to another beneficiary. She said the rabbits currently provide droppings that are used in processing compost for garden use. She will further consume and that will improve her nutrition status she also mentioned that she will realize profits upon selling some of them.

Then we appreciated compost manure made from rabbits droppings mixed with dry matter and maize bran. She mentioned that the manure will be used in her home garden.

Lastly we visited her home garden which was under maintenance. She said the garden provided vegetables for relish for her home. She encouraged participants to engage in the same as it is easier to establish and manage since it requires grey water for watering and it’s also smaller in size.

Similar remarks were made by the farmer representative and village headman Chilembwe as they both commended Kusamala for the efforts and also urged other farmers to emulate the efforts as they are beneficial to themselves.

Kusamala representative, Mrs. E. Kalumba, thanked the gathering for active participation and also VH Chilembwe for welcoming the function into his village. She commended the host for the beautiful interventions and asked all other farmers to follow suit. She stressed so much on commitment as it is for their own benefit. She encouraged participants to engage in organic farming since it is cheap and also intercropping since it’s possible to yield more on a small piece of land. Then she introduced to the group that there will be farmer competition in management of home gardens and there will different prizes given to the winners. She therefore encouraged the farmers to establish gardens for consumption not for the mentioned competition as this may befit the project purpose.

GVH Mwalembe who was the Guest of Honor expressed sincere gratitude for the efforts that Kusamala is doing in various communities. He said the only way farmers can repay is to implement the initiatives since Kusamala is committed to helping the farmers in many ways. He particularly thanked EPA staff for their tireless efforts in developmental initiatives. He said the farmers were lucky because of the presence of the various field officers in the area so they should take it as an advantage.