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Horticulture production enhances household wellbeing in Mndolera

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The Horticulture sector can be an integral part of local food system if an increase in small-scale farmers’ productivity and income is achieved. As part of investing in agriculture, The African Institute of Corporate Citizenship (AICC) in partnership with the Norwegian Church Aid (NCA) has been executing a Micro Investment project called Commercial Agribusiness for Sustainable Horticulture (CASH) and now it is implementing it under Sustainable Food Systems for Rural Resilience and Transformation (TRANSFORM) project in Dowa and Rumphi Districts. Investing in the horticulture sector can be a key to eradicating poverty, hunger and malnutrition, particularly in rural areas where most of poor people live. Different Horticulture value chains contributes to income generation, household economic welfare as well as promoting entrepreneurship and rural development. Through the review of a number of case studies of farmers in Mndolera EPA we can surely assert that horticulture can contribute to household economic well-being.

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Horticulture Farmers Attain a Quick Payback through Micro Investment Kit

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Many small scale farmers are highly risk-opposed and are always reluctant to invest in new innovations unless the returns are twofold. The challenge in growing maize, for example, is the length of time between each harvest and the risk of oversupply and low prices. Farmers are always encouraged and easily adopt an innovation when it is proved profitable compared to what farmers are conventionally practicing. As part of enhancing farmers’ investment decision, the African Institute of Corporate Citizenship (AICC) in partnership with the Norwegian Church Aid (NCA) introduced Micro Investment project called Commercial Agribusiness for Sustainable Horticulture (CASH) in different sections under Mndolera EPA in Dowa District. The Project has been promoting micro investment concept using drip irrigation technology where farmers are approached and requested to buy the micro-investment (MI) kits that comprises of the drip kit, fertilizer as well as improved seed.

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Zero Cooling Chamber a Relief to Horticultural Farmers in Mndolera

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…“Before being instructed by AICC agronomists on the use of the Zero Cooling Chamber in September 2019, we were losing a lot of produce every week because of over-ripening at the farm and the produce being stored at an ambient temperature in an open room of our houses,”… 

Much of the post-harvest losses of horticultural products in Malawi is due to lack of proper storage facilities.  Total horticultural produce is lost during harvest and storage which reduces the growers share.  While refrigerated cool stores are the best method of preserving horticultural products, they are expensive to buy and difficult to run especially in rural areas where there is no electricity. Storage of fresh horticultural produce after harvesting is one of the most pressing problems of horticultural farmers in Mndolera EPA. As one way of mitigating the storage problem for horticultural farmers in Mndolera EPA, AICC through CASH project is promoting the use of the Zero Cooling Chamber as one of the better alternative for storage of horticultural produce.

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