Smallholder farmers under Mndolera Extension Planning Area (EPA) in the area of Senior Chief Dzoole in Dowa have hailed the sustainable food systems for rural agriculture transformation and resilience (TRANSFORM) project for improving their wellbeing.
Within the first year of the project implementation, the farmers have started enjoying benefits of their various farming activities.
Being coordinated by the Norwegian Church Aid and Dun church Aid (NCA/DCA), the four-year project is getting financial support from the Royal Norwegian Embassy.
Speaking on Monday during the K18.9 billion project agreement signing in the area, one of the farmers, Margret Kalama, said since the project started, the farmers are now conversant with some modern agriculture practices that for a short period of time have helped to change their families.
Kalama said the project came as a sigh of relief to them as it has challenged them to start taking agriculture as business not as a tradition.
“The project is helping us a lot, as women we have also been able to be financially stable through selling of farming products including water melons, tomatoes and other vegetables. Through the profits we make, we have been able to send children to school and also take proper care of our families,” she said
She also appealed to Norwegian Church Aid and Dun church Aid that apart from five districts involved in the project, they should also consider extending it other districts so that other farmers can also benefit.
The project targets 150,000 agriculture dependent rural households from 2020 to 2023 in five districts including Dowa, Mchinji, Kasungu, Mzimba and Rumphi
In his remarks, Norwegian Church Aid and Dun Church Aid country director Havard Hovdhaugen said project’s main objective is to strengthen local food systems in selected extension planning areas (EPAs) to demonstrate a sustainable improvement of food and nutrition security, resilience to climate change and income among agriculture dependent rural households.
He said the project is changing lives of smallholder farmers including youth and women and they are happy that it is achieving its intended purpose as both of them have started being financially dependent among other things.
Royal Norwegian Embassy head of cooperation Ornulf Strom said they will continue supporting small holder farmers in the selected districts in increasing productivity, increasing access to the market and increasing the use of different types of agriculture technologies for them to be food secure.