FOOD SECURITY

Food production in Malawi is mainly done at small scale household level, and is entirely weather dependent. Every year almost all rural households which make up 85% of the nation have to grow the bulk their own food during the 3-4 months rain season. The process of crop production is the foremost poverty trap in that it is costly in more ways than just financial for poor households.

It requires inputs that are unaffordable. It uses methods that contribute to the depletion of nutrients from the soil that leads farming households to need expensive chemical fertilizers to be able to yield anything. The hard work that is involved in working in the fields required high calorie intake that poor people cannot afford. In other words, one has to have food (and money) to be able to grow food.

In communities like Gusu, this trap has resulted in very low food production, malnutrition, susceptibility to ill health, and inevitably, indescribable poverty.

E3 Worldwide is working in Gusu to help reduce the cost of growing food by; exploring much cheaper substitutes for chemical fertilizers; offering training for alternative methods of agriculture such as permaculture to attain maximum yield per acreage that also nurtures the ecosystem to retain fertility naturally, introducing irrigation agriculture to beat seasonality, and encouraging the cultivation of ‘cash crops’ to generate income.

AGRIBUSINESS

E3 Worldwide has struck up a partnership with the government’s Ministry of Agriculture and other non-governmental organizations to train 3 Gusu residents in Agribusiness who will in turn train their fellow farmers. These new skills will help them to employ modern method to attain multiple yields per annum.

IRRIGATION

E3 Worldwide has facilitated the drilling of a borehole connected to a solar panel grid, provided micro-loan financing to 35 families for the purchase of treadle pumps, and helped manage a river diversion project for irrigation along the river that benefited an additional 31 families. The borehole irrigation project is being used for the training of the farmers and also students at the school. Proceeds made from the crops harvested from this field will fund the workers’ stipends, and new agricultural projects.

These projects will not only ensure all year round food security, but also allow the community to try out new crops that though not traditionally grown in the region, can diversify and enrich their diet to beat malnutrition.

CASH CROPS

E3 Worldwide is supporting families in Gusu to venture into cultivating ‘cash crops’ such as soybean, groundnuts, vegetables, etc. to sell. Without other sources of income, farming just for domestic food needs tends to leave families in dire situations in that they are unable to access their non-food essentials (Medical, clothing, service fees), and powerless to purchase food when their stocks run out.

E3 Worldwide is supporting families in Gusu to venture into cultivating ‘cash crops’ such as soybean, groundnuts, vegetables, etc. to sell. Without other sources of income, farming just for domestic food needs tends to leave families in dire situations in that they are unable to access their non-food essentials (Medical, clothing, service fees), and powerless to purchase food when their stocks run out.

Aquaponics is a combination of fish farming and hydroponics. The fish waste fertilizes the plants and the plants clean the water. It is a very symbiotic relationship and this system does not require any synthetic fertilizer or chemical pesticides.

ANIMAL HUSBANDRY

The E3 animal husbandry projects help the village to learn about sustainable goat and pig farming. E3 also shows how the animal waste can be converted to fertilizer and soon, how to collect methane through the use of bio digesters. E3 also teaches the villagers small business concepts to help the village realize a better financial return for their hard work.

Since 2009 when E3 started the treadle pump and river diversion project, for the first since they can remember, the families have been able to harvest enough food to last year round. Some, including Nevison Manyetla, have parlayed the excess food into cash sales that has enabled him to branch out into pig farming.

COMMUNITY GOAL

The community’s goal for the future is to move away from subsistence farming and delve deeper into cash crops. Soon, with the help of David Kamchacha who is a local farming consultant, E3 will help the families in Gusu develop and manage farming co-ops which will allow them to earn a higher price for their product and eventually will help them in value adding like butchering and packaging.

 Gusu's first permaculture graduates

Gusu's first permaculture graduates

 The area's first compost bin

The area's first compost bin

 3 installing the solar powered pump in the borehole

3 installing the solar powered pump in the borehole

food4.jpg
 Cash Crops

Cash Crops

 Aquaponics

Aquaponics

 Animal Husbandry

Animal Husbandry

 Treaddle Pumps

Treaddle Pumps

 Community Goal

Community Goal