Food security is not just about having food. It's about having security, the knowledge that your next meal is there when you want it. Farmers are becoming secure in their ability to produce enough for their families. And when families are not overwhelmed by the search for food, other important family matters can be addressed, like health, shelter and education.
This year the Mziza Farming Club harvested more than ever before, storing over 7,700 lbs. of reserve grain. Farming families continued to improve the quality of their houses, toilets, and water sources. With enough stored grain, farmers focused on generating income and providing nutritious vegetables through irrigation.
A low input, high yield growing season was added to the farming calendar in late August. Farmers grew beans, which require no chemicals or fertilizer and provide protein to their diets. Usually during this time farmers' irrigation gardens are inactive.
Lead farmers were trained at Mphombe, Mphimbe, and Malika villages. These farmers will provide experience and guidance to their respective clubs as the remaining farmers are trained in the coming year.
Food security training teaches farmers how to fend off hunger with strategies that don't cost anything. Farmers at Chifuchambewa learned how to plan for lean times, stretch grain supplies with irrigation, and avoid selling food supplies by growing valuable vegetables during the dry season. Farmers have been putting these methods into practice and will see the benefits during the hunger season of January through March.
The AWP demo garden provided a foundation for training farmers in all our project areas. Farmers were able to see the proper crop layout and waterway construction. The windmill on the demo showed farmers the potential for growth on their farms.
Going into 2015, we are excited to see the number of farmers using advanced irrigation techniques increase. As we train them to incorporate the techniques into an improved farm management method, farmers will realize the dream of food security.