Thursday, March 6, 2014
What is food security? Well, if you ask "what's for dinner?", and what you mean is "should we eat spaghetti or rice?"; "lamb or fish?"; "potatoes: baked or mashed?", then you have food security. But if "what's for dinner?" means "where will we find our next meal?", that's food insecurity.
Farmers at Chifuchambewa came in large numbers to discuss food security and pick up some new tools to help them plan for the future. This community produces enough to be food secure, but the food is not available at the right time. This can all change in just a single season if farmers reserve food for lean months.
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
Last year we started working with farmers at Nasala, Lilongwe. We identified this group through NAPHAM, which is an organization that supports and advocates for people living with HIV and AIDS. One of our founding ideas at AWP is that people with AIDS need better nutrition to allow them to continue on powerful ARV medication, stay healthy, and support their families.
Our program last year at Nasala was a minimal training, a testing of the water so to speak. This year we ramped it up by including more members and training them a various locations closer to their homes. Being close to home is a big help for some members whose health would be effected by long walks.
On Friday last week we conducted nursery establishment trainings. Effective nursery establishment allows the farmers to 1) achieve high germination rates, 2) estimate seed population and scale the gardens appropriately, 3) share seedlings evenly among 5 or more farmers. Basically, we use good nursery practices to avoid wasting money on seeds and wasting labour on oversized gardens.
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Currently, farmers at Chifuchambewa in Salima rely on wellsprings to supply irrigation water. The wells produce a fixed amount of water per day, which limits the acreage that can be irrigated. However, the men in this photo are making plans to use the Lipimbi river for irrigation for the first time this year
Monday, February 17, 2014
Last month, I blogged a few photos of maize gardens our farmers planted ahead of the rains. The time has come.
Even farmers who didn't plant early will benefit from this harvest. Maize prices have dropped by 40% in the last month, down to US$0.11 per pound from a peak of US$0.18. This means that you will get almost 65% more maize for your buck this month. If for example, a farmer sells a chicken for US$4.00, he can now buy 36 pounds of maize, rather than just 22 pounds. A difference of 14 pounds means an extra 1-2 days of food for a family.
Saturday, February 8, 2014
But what can we do about it? they ask. Usually, good answers, good solutions emerge from within the group. Simply bringing up the topic generates excellent ideas. We are just there to provide tools that help the community put their ideas into practice.