One of the priorities of Malawi Fruits is to demonstrate that farmers can produce the highest quality produce if they have the right technology and support. At our Mzuzu office, we are demonstrating the drip irrigation kits that we have for farmers which help to produce vegetables like my sweetcorn which was easily up to UK standards. Crop quality is determined by a number of factors, and ensuring the plants get the correct amount of water consistently is one of the key targets for the grower. Drip irrigation does this and saves so much labour in the process.
We want to establish large scale irrigated farms – and we are working on that – but also encourage all Malawians to see their back garden as a source of food. With a drip irrigation kit this need not be a labour intensive enterprise: gravity does the work. And because the water is targeted to the plants, there is less weeding to do.
Today we were out at a farm where irrigation is producing great results. In the town, the water might come from a borehole (at our office, for example) or from the town water system if the house is connected. In the countryside, it is more likely to come from a perennial river or a dam. Today’s farm had a dam – this is built into a gully so that the water is harvested in the rainy season and then a solar pump can be used to irrigate the crops all through the dry season.
Atusaye Kayuni, our Development Executive is showing off the biggest head of sunflower seeds you’re ever likely to see. Atusaye will be in Scotland later this month and there are opportunities to meet him in Glasgow, Motherwell and Dundee: do get in touch via the comments if you would like details of this.
Great to see such encouraging progress being made!