A great afternoon seeing the first of our Polytunnels under construction. The metal frame is strong and solid and built for a minimum of 10 years of useful life. Thankfully we had a calm day with just a light breeze as we worked together with the tailoring team who are designing and fitting the polythene cover. This may be the prototype, but it’s looking really good and we are delighted that these Polytunnels will be made in Mzuzu, creating local jobs.
The plan is to build and deploy 10 Polytunnels per month between now and the end of the year, so our team are going to be busy. We are grateful to Guernsey Overseas Aid Committee for their grant funding which is making this possible. Arbroath Rotary Club have also donated the funds for a Polytunnel, on top of the Futurepump they have already funded. Each Polytunnel will be owned and managed by 3 women which means that over 200 women will benefit from the additional income they will generate. The technical name is Controlled Environment Agriculture and we see so many benefits for women in Malawi:
- Crops can be grown all year round, rather than depending on seasons which are increasingly unpredictable
- There are fewer insect and fungal attacks, reducing the need for chemical spraying
- Water and fertiliser can be applied in optimum quantities for each plant, reducing costs and wastage
- A Polytunnel beside the family home can be managed by women alongside their childcare and household responsibilities
- This is smart farming, using your brain more than your physical abilities, meaning that some women with disabilities can also benefit
All these advantages add up to better crops, in bigger quantities, and so higher household incomes. Bringing Good News to the poor!