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Building a Food-Secure Future
To ensure a food-secure future, farming must become climate resilient. Around the world, governments and communities are adopting innovations that are improving the lives of millions, all while reducing agriculture’s ecological footprint.
CARE is working diligently in the Kasungu district of Malawi to implement climate-smart agriculture. The interventions have brought joy and excitement and have helped to return the lost hope in rural households and communities in which poverty levels are steadily rising. The district has faced a drought for the past three years, leading families to face food insecurity and malnutrition, both of which greatly impact girls’ education.
Loveness Molosoni, one of the longest-serving village agents in the Kasungu district explains, “Tobacco farming has made us poorer than ever and the climate change is also adding more misery. As a result, our communities are becoming food insecure.” Her sentiments are shared across hundreds of households in Kasungu.
But not all hope is lost. As the way to empower the women who are most affected, CARE is training members of Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLAs) in sustainable agricultural practices using an approach called the Farmers Field and Business School (FFBS).
The excitement is coming to life now that two months of training in the program is complete. 1,352 farmers are learning new, sustainable agriculture practices and are applying these new tactics in their fields of soybeans and peanuts. In addition to the agricultural training, CARE is providing education for farmers on supply and demand as well as relationship building with potential food crop buyers.
“I have been excited since the CARE called for a meeting and the news about sustainable agriculture was introduced,” said Mariah Njira, a 28-year-old mother to three daughters. “I have learned new ways of growing soya and groundnuts, and I am so relieved in the way that these crops do not need fertilizer at all,” she continued as she demonstrated what she learned at the demonstration plot.
Maina Nanthu and Agness Godfrey, both members of the Tithandizane training group, were also joyful as they worked on a demonstration plot.
“I am optimistic that my family’s finances will improve, as the prices that soya and groundnuts are fetching are very encouraging compared to tobacco,” chimed in Agness, who has been a member of a VSLA since 2010, when CARE first introduced the program in her community. “The other good news is that my family’s nutritional levels will improve, as soya and groundnuts are good for our health. For farming, you need a healthy body,” she added.
Mariah Njira was full of praise for the members of the implementation team, who have been visiting and interacting with all of the training groups, helping them to understand the importance of planting good seed and the benefits of adopting new sustainable agriculture practices.
“Next year I will farm three acres of soya and two acres of groundnut. I want to put into practice what I have learned at the demonstration plot,” Mariah said as she continued weeding her plot.