Monday, October 4, 2010

Irrigating towards a better life

Story by: David Nyirongo
Compiled and Edited by: Krystle Praestiin

A new irrigation system provided by ADRA Malawi in June has brought hope to the Gangitsa/Chikwita Farmers Club in Tchenga village.

In August 2009, a group of seven farmers, four women and three men, all above the age of 35 joined together to start farming maize. They decided to use irrigation farming as this would produce higher harvest yields. However, since they did not own their own irrigation equipment the group needed to borrow a treadle pump and delivery pump from other farmers. The cost for hiring this equipment each day amounted to 200 kwacha ($1.30 USD). A price that may not sound great to some people, but when you are living in poverty and trying to break free from it, this is a great price to pay every day.

Their drive to provide for their families and to move out of their poverty led them to ADRA Malawi. Through the ADRA Denmark supported project RECAB, the group was assisted with one treadle pump, one sprayer and 100 grams of onion seed.

‘We used to borrow a treadle pump, delivery pipe and spraying machine at a cost, but thanks to ADRA Malawi, RECAB project, we are now no longer borrowing these equipments’, said Grace Davide, who is the chairperson for the group.

Today, if you were to visit this group you would find a lady or a man vigorously stepping up and down on their new treadle pump (the latest and most useful exercise machine to hit the market). The treadle pump is connected to a long plastic tube which winds its way past river, shrub and rock before it reaches the lush green fields of maize and onions that are daily nourished with water.

ADRA Malawi is also contributing to the group’s development by providing capacity building in modern irrigation technologies. One member from the group has been trained in modern irrigation technologies such as canalization, correct plant spacing and management of crops. This group member is then responsible for training the other group members.

The group has developed a plot of 0.2 hectares and with this crop they are determined to move away from being “hunger families,” to being “food secured families”. So far the group has been able to provide enough food for their families through the adoption of this new equipment and knowledge that ADRA Malawi has given with them.

Each individual has even developed their own kitchen gardens for their homes and some members belong to a newly formed Producer Group Enterprise (PGE) which is assisting the group to develop their farming into a business. Two members from the group were sent to Lilongwe and Blantyre to source potential markets for their produce.

This story is an example of the empowerment and hope ADRA Malawi strives to achieve through the sharing of knowledge and the provision of vital equipment to give a group of committed individuals a kick start in achieving their development.

No comments: