Our mission is promoting food security and income generation for women and youth through improved farming activities in Lilongwe, Malawi.
Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.
I selected this place because I interact with the people there through farming activities.
My family and I operate a farm at Nguluwe village T/A Malili in Lilongwe since 2010. However, despite our farm having a better yield every year, my farm neighbours have continuous poor harvest every year and over 80 percent of them experience perpetual hunger and poverty in the area. Currently maize, groundnuts, soya beans and other crops are in low production due to poor prices, effects of climate change negatively affecting rain-fed Agriculture, high cost of fertilisers and land degradation. Hence, most small scale farmers around DAFA farm always harvest little and generally have problems to access good markets price to sell their produce which results in exploitation by unscrupulous traders. No wonder, people in the area experience perpetual starvation, poverty and illiteracy resulting from high school poverty related dropout rates. Therefore, due to these challenges faced by the farming community in the area, my family and I made decision to operate DAFA farm as a social enterprise to support our neighbours. There is need for DAFA farming to organize small holder farmers in the area for good farming techniques, market access and job opportunities.
Nguluwe village in Lilongwe, Malawi is one of the deprived rural areas, 10 kilometers away from Lilongwe city. Its economy is Agriculture based and largely subsistence agriculture other than commercial.
Dafa farming is one of the social enterprise initiatives for commercial farming operating in Nguluwe T/A Malili with around thirty thousand people. It is a company formed by David and Fanny Njaidi to undertake commercial agriculture for business as well as community empowerment.
Describe the People and Place: Provide information that would be helpful for an outsider who has never been there and may have no context about this Place to better understand the area.
Socially, the people of Nguluwe village in Malili area where the project is operating, has many women and youth who are hardworking leaving in communal life promoting unity to sustaining farming clubs or any grouping for self-help initiatives. This will promote the work of DAFA farming in community mobilisation. The people are Chewa by tribe and they speak Chichewa language which is generally used as a national language in Malawi. The staple food is maize and usually made into flour and prepared as thick porridge called Nsima. Nsima is taken with vegetables, beans, fish, and meat as relish with soup. Many people eat and sell roosted or cooked green maize known as DOWE which is also popular among city dwellers. Other popular foodstuffs include potatoes, cassava, rice, sugarcanes, groundnuts, soya beans and fruits such as mangoes, bananas , strawberries among others. For income many people in the area cultivate horticultural products such as tomatoes, green pepper, onions, Irish potatoes, cabbage and others. In the project we would like to encourage the growing of maize and horticulture crops for food security and poverty reduction. Woman take a major role in agriculture in this area just like in Malawi as a whole. 70 percent of labour in agriculture is provided by women in the country. Hence our project is focusing on women and youth.40% of Malawi population (19,842,560) between 15 and 45 years of age(productive age which is often jobless).
Therefore, economically, agriculture is the backbone of Malawi’s economy. Therefore, DAFA farming project is likely going to find many partners in the agri-business sector. People in the project area depend on agriculture to earn a living subsistence level rather than commercial. However, there are fluctuating prices on many farm produce which needs strong leadership among farmers themselves to make real gains from agri-business activities. These reads to perpetual starvation and poverty. Many children drop out of school and are malnourished due to high poverty levels.
Generally, there is political stability with good will for women and youth empowerment through government policies and programs. In addition, food security and poverty reduction are priority in the Malawi growth and development strategy III and the sustainable development goals.
Challenges: Describe the current (2020) and the future (2050) challenges that your food system faces.
At the moment Lilongwe and the whole Malawi is facing challenges of food insecurity in many households both rural and urban. According to Tsitsi et al (2010) 1 out of 4 households are food secure in rural Malawi which means 75% are not food secure. The challenges for shortage of food are caused by so many factors which come in six themes such as environmental, diets, economic, culture , technology and policy (Food System Vision Prize 2020 toolkit). Therefore, the project catchment area has similar challenges as follows
- Environmental: effects of climate change causing bad weather such as floods, droughts, cyclones effecting crops in the fields and markets. Climate change also lead to prevalence of pests which damage crops. Equally, animals are affected due to inadequate water and pasture. Growing population is causing land deforestation, land degradation and inadequate land.
- Diets: demand for more food in the city and rural is leading to production of less nutritious food affecting people’s diets and health. In addition, lack of proper food storage lead to people feeding on dry food stuffs which are less nutritious.
- Economics: farmers are earning less income and shouldering more debts due to low prices on the market as well as lack market access. Additionally, farmers in the project area have no skills for value addition and no effective techniques for irrigation.
- Culture: culturally, Women farmers have limited access to land, inputs and financing yet 70% of labour in Malawi is provided by women and 90% of food production is done by small scale farmers in Malawi
- Technology: effects of gas pollutions from green house, vehicles, machinery cause environmental degradation leading to global warming and climate change.
- Policy: Effects of globalization dwindle the market for small scale farmers due to so many food stuffs imported from outside Malawi especially by city shopping malls and super markets in the free trade aspects.
Address the Challenges: Describe how your Vision will address the challenges described in the previous question.
Addressing the challenges above, the project is working with women and youth to promote food security and income generation through improved farming activities in Lilongwe Malawi. See the planned actions below:
- Engage small scale farmers in the impact area to do irrigation to reduce the effects of climate change and over-dependency on rain-fed agriculture.
- Mobilise the community to improve the environment by planting more trees, practicing land and water conservation techniques such as crop rotation, use of organic fertilisers and water harvesting.
- Train the community in value addition as well as planting nutritious crops such as horticultural crops.
- Train the community in food and nutrition through their farming club
- Introduce new ways of food storage
- Diversify market access for small scale farmers in the impact area by providing leadership in a community farming club and contract farming
- Train farmers in value addition and promotion of their products to compete with a global market
- Sensitize the community to allow women access more land through the positive land laws and the matrilineal customs in the catchment area.
- The project should also organize a credit facility for women and youth lacking financial support for their farming business.
- Use environment friendly technologies for irrigation, value addition and other business activities in the area.
- The project will train the community in waste management activities for a safe environment.
Conduct advocacy meetings with government and other stakeholders to promote agriculture policies friendly to the small scale farmers who produce 90% of food in Malawi
High Level Vision: With these challenges addressed, now provide a high level description of how the Place and the lives of its People will be different than they are now.
Our vision is to improve food security and reduce poverty among women and youth who are small scale farmers in Lilongwe, Malawi by 2050.
Our values and beliefs:
- Renewability of the natural resources.
- Resilience to the changing climate.
- Equity to sustainable livelihoods and nutritious food systems.
- Diversity in agricultural, ecological and cultural heritage.
- Healthfulness and well-being of people, animals and the environment, Interconnectedness of food, people and planet for sustainable food and agriculture systems.