TRANSFORMING LIVELIHOODS THROUGH IMPROVED PIGEON PEAS FARMING
- Created: Tuesday, 06 April 2021 13:35
- Published: Tuesday, 06 April 2021 13:35
In a country where land is limited and scarce for both urban and rural people, the 65 year old father of four children is one of the farmers who has been cultivating on a small piece of land which could hardly sustain their livelihood especially that they were using local farming methods. “Our farming has always been tailored to just feed ourselves and that has not enough because the harvest was never sufficient to feed myself and the kids” Says Nandolo who comes from the area of Chibwana Village, Traditional Authority Amidu in the district of Balaka. After years of struggling with poor yields, profits have poured in for Jimmy Nandolo, a chairman of Nkhonde Cooperative. The difference started when AICC offered the cooperative members training on how to use improved basic farming practices, like improved ways of preparing their land, applying herbicides and planting their legume crops.
The low yields and other farming challenges did not discourage the farmer from working hard to get himself out of poverty. “I realized that maize alone would not help, thus I started legumes production. In 2014, Nandolo and his friends, under the banner of Nkhonde Farmers Club, started working with AICC to help farmers in Nkhonde realize maximum from their lands using modern technologies. Production for Nandolo quickly rose. Meanwhile, Mr. Nandolo as a cooperative chairman attended the Nandolo Association of Malawi organized conference where they met with legume buyers and learned about quality requirements. Purchasers from the World Food Programme and several millers from the Malawi capital of Lilongwe are promising to offer tentative contracts to the Nkhonde cooperative that were contingent on the Pigeon peas meeting strict standards for quality and quantity.