Monday, April 26, 2010

Cassava Cuttings restore HOPE

As Tsogolo Labwino project is still in its first year, it is endeavoring in ensuring the decrease of household food insecurity. The project through its institutional trainings, equipped local leaders with skills of community mobilization and needs assessment that led to proactive ness in soliciting problems and solutions.

Tasizio Juvinala 83years old has no children but is able bodied such that he does all field activities alone. He migrated from his home village Mtakataka in Dedza district to settle in Mkwatire village in Salima district, the home of his wife following traditional demands.

Tasizio prepares his two acre farm earlier in the season ready for the first rains. This year, it never rained but poured for him when the area had experienced dry spell and with the poor soils in his farm, maize crop did not germinate well. He was hope less. Later he attended a community meeting convened by the Village Development Committee (VDC) in the area to collect communal suggestions on alternatives to the situation. Upon assessment his farm was among the drought affected fields.

The VDC and community agreed on looking for drought resistant crops such as sweet potato vines and cassava cuttings. When the request for assistance was presented to Tsogolo Labwino project, cassava cuttings were considered for its multipurpose consumption use of making flour, eating raw and cooking the tubers. Tasizio was one of cassava cuttings beneficiary hence he cleared some part of his field and also uprooted stunted maize plants to have enough plot for the cassava.

He was lucky because the same day he planted the 2 bundles of the cuttings on 0.15 acre, the area received heavy rainfall which boosted the crop establishment. Now he is still clearing additional piece of land to plant some more cuttings and says he will regenerarte planting materials from the first plants.

Tasizio expects to have problems in acquiring maize as it is staple food in the area but says he will be supplementing with the cassava because the variety matures in 6-8months.He is encouraging his fellow farmers to take care of their fields because despite his old age, his field is outstanding due to his hard work. He thanks the project for good gesture when he had no hope, he narrates that the dry spell left many people what would befall them later in the season.

Author: Mercy Chakoma (ADRA Malawi – Tsogolo Labwino Project)

Pict 1 - Tasizio on site training on ADRA's cassava cuttings and how to get the best out of it.

Pict 2 - Tasizio's failed maize crop field.

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