Malawi is a country in SouthEast Africa that receives rain once a year from November up to April. Most of the agriculture done in the country that helps in the production of food is rain fed. Once maize (Malawi’s staple food) is planted in November or December, it is harvested in April or May. This single harvest is the one which is expected to provide all the food requirements for most Malawian households throughout the entire year.
In a situation where the rainy season was not good, let’s say there was a drought or too much rains, the poor harvest that is realized in the year is expected to cover all the people’s needs for over 10 months. Since the food cannot suffice hunger strikes and because the house hold depends on agriculture for income generation, poverty strikes on the other side.
This is where an extra un-usual harvest is crucial. When rural subsistence farmers are empowered to cultivate multiple times in a year, not only do they deal with hunger, but they actually deal with poverty as well.
Mr. Wallace Sitolo is one of the farmers that were trained in sustainable irrigation agriculture in Mziza village which is under Mpingu Extension Planning Area in Lilongwe District over Five years ago. He learned how to grow maize in irrigation basins and how to make sure that he uses compost manure to provide needed nutrients to his crops so that the crops grow and produce well. He also learned to time his cropping so that he harvests his crops during times when there is need for his produce.
Mr. Sitolo grew an early maturing variety of maize called SC 403(Kanyani) which takes only 90 days to mature. He took very good care of it and although he could not manage to buy fertilizer he made sure to apply enough manure to make sure that the crop found all the needed nutrients.
As the women were harvesting the maize I asked them, “When did February become a harvest season?”, they all laughed. This is because February is a month where most Malawians, especially in rural communities are food insecure and the prices of Maize rise to MK 12,000/MK 13,000 per 50kg bag from MK 3,000/4,000 during the time of harvest.
Because Africa Windmill Project introduced the concept of sustainable irrigation agriculture to end hunger and poverty, every three to four months literary become harvest season for our farmers!
The first irrigation crop is planted between February and April and it is harvested in June, the second crop is planted soon after this first harvest and it is harvested in September and then the last crop is planted in September/October and it is harvested in December or January.
Africa Windmill is committed to ending hunger and poverty and we want you to join us.