It’s been another productive trip to rural Malawi. We’ve met extreme weather conditions, from searing heat and drought in the early weeks, to tempestuous thunder storms, lightning, high winds, torrential rain, mini whirlwinds, and even an earthquake! And now as the UK warms up into summer, the temperature’s cooling in Malawi.
As winter approaches all the children’s jumpers, quilts and blankets lovingly made by friends in the UK are received with grateful thanks.
Many are already hungry. This year’s maize distribution programme went well. From Christmas 2010, through till March, hundreds assessed as most vulnerable benefited from the 10.5 tonnes of maize we bought in early last year. Many others were helped too with token amounts.
In April, 2011 we bought in 250 bags of maize - 12,500kgs.
We rented a maize mill for two weeks, and the whole process:- buying, milling, transporting back to our Centre, drying, measuring moisture content, weighing & packing took 3 men 6 hard weeks to complete. We use special bags to protect grain from the invasive weevils. The total is potentially the basis for 40,000 meals, but some will be reserved as a key ingredient for livestock mix. Milled maize will be given out freely to families assessed at risk according to our distribution plan, mostly during the hunger period (Christmas 2011 to March 2012)
However, the weather has once again taken its toll on the fields. The annual rains were short-lived and drought decimated the maize harvest in many areas. 27% of local subsistence farmers harvested absolutely nothing.
Report of Malawi trip - Mar/May 2011
Community Agricultural projects. Our 13 “gardens” in the rural areas - inputs supplied by OHP, manned by volunteers, and serving the poor - had mixed results due to the weather.
We gave some groups soya seed, for community cash cropping, and most have brought their harvest back to us to buy for our goats, with the income going to help the needy in their villages.
Moringa - Leaves contain exceptional nutrients
It’s still early days, but despite adverse weather conditions, the trial maize plot planted according to the “Farming God’s Way” (FGW) initiative harvested 15kgs maize (= 6250kgs per hectare) - an excellent result!
Fresh agricultural ideas tend to be resisted in Malawi, however, visible results are starting to impress. Compost made last year according to FGW principles was superb.
Winter is the time to plant vegetables, so tomato nurseries were established, indigenous veggie beds prepared, manure constantly made, and moringa seedlings planted to replace those lost in the drought.
A successful maize cob grown according to “Farming God’s Way” Cobs on maize planted in traditional ridges on adjacent land were small and stunted.
We are presenting the “Farming God’s Way” DVD series on a weekly basis with relevant scriptural teaching, soft drink, then technical/ management training.
Participants have been challenged to make their own framed compost from local residue, and if accomplished, we’ll send out a team to
help prepare some
of their field as part
of the ongoing
Projected agricultural training course
.Grateful thanks to Rotary for supplying 150 chairs and IATP for providing the projector!
This is page 1 Summer trip 2011