The general pace of life in Malawi is slow and sedate – and then we arrive and want thing’s done at a Scottish speed. That’s what it’s been like over the last couple of days as I’ve dashed from meeting to meeting and then been busy writing up notes and dealing with emails in between.
Yesterday was a good day at Kaweche Farm which is a huge Macadamia nut and chilli farm run by our partner Tropha. There are macadamia trees and chillies as far as the eye can see and the whole operation is very impressive. Tropha also support smallholders as outgrowers and this is where we come in, working together to ensure that the small farmers have a good market for their crops.
Bird’s eye chilli is a good crop for irrigated land: the bush gives peppers for three years; there’s a good market internationally; and it grows well under irrigation. Wherever we are able to provide irrigation, chillies will definitely be part of the crop mix. Nando’s buy a lot of their chillies here in Malawi so the next time you are eating there you may find yourself supporting our farmers!
Today, we were at a non-working irrigation scheme where we hope to bring together irrigation, hydro electric power and access to clean water in one project. The purpose today was to gather information for a grant application to enable all this to be done.
When you visit one of these rural villages and meet the people – especially the children – you get a vivid reminder of why this needs to be done.
I’m off to the capital, Lilongwe, tomorrow for meetings with UNDP and DFID (UK department for International Development) – these are the guys who can join with our supporters back home and make this stuff happen.