Chibanzi Village is home to our second oldest project site, and hometown to our Irrigation Coordinator, Blessings Malamba (pictured in NASA T-shirt). The village is 50 miles from the Capital Lilongwe, 10 miles from the nearest town in Dowa District.
This week farmers were being trained in compost making. Compost reduces the need for chemical fertilizers. Fertilizers are a petroleum product, made from the crude oil. This means their price is linked to global fuel prices. By using organic compost, farmers can grow high quality produce, at or near the yield expected with expensive fertilizers - at a fraction of the cost. Compost only costs your effort to collect manure and organic matter for decomposing.
Later in the day, farmers received their first inputs for the 2014 irrigation season: onions. Just like Mziza, these farmers want an early start. They should harvest as much as 6 metric tonnes of fresh onions. At prices up to US$0.50 per kilo, they might net anywhere from US$1,000 to US$3,000.
For comparison, Malawi's per capita GDP is US$260 per year.