MSIA: Towards food and Income Security Project in MALAWI

The sheer notion of always waiting on rains for everyday food provision is a recipe for food insecurity. Due to overdependence on rain-fed agriculture, for a long time farmers of T/A Kalolo in Lilongwe West have been facing challenges in their agricultural activities. These challenges among them included low productivity due to land degradation; declining of soil fertility; lack of irrigation; lack of diversification in farming systems which has been dominated by maize production; poorly developed markets for agricultural inputs and produce; and weak service provision, particularly rural financial services and agricultural research and extension. However, the farming community in the area has been seeing its fortunes change since the Foundation for Irrigation and sustainable Development (FISD), in collaboration with Farmers Forum for Trade and Social Justice (FAFOTRAJ) started implementing the Mtete Sustainable Irrigated Agriculture (MSIA) Project, with the main objective of ensuring that by 2018, farmers in the area are food and income secure through sustainable irrigated agriculture.

The MSIA Project started in August, 2016 with funding from the European Union (EU). The initiative covers areas of seven Group Village Headmen of Mvuto, Mchadza, Chipanga, Mbang’ombe, Mkhozomba, Chalimba and Chilowe in Ming’ongo Extension Planning Area (EPA) under the Lilongwe West District Agriculture Development Office. The MSIA Project basically complements Malawi Government’s effort to eradicate the challenges that are being faced by the agriculture sector in most parts of the country and is part of the Government’s

Agricultural Sector Wide Approach Support Project (ASWAp) whose funding is channeled through the Multi Donor Trust Fund (MDTF).The EU contribution to the MDTF resulted from the Financing Agreement signed between the European Commission and the Republic of Malawi in 2012 in view of financing ASWAp and the Green Belt Initiative (GBI). The project target is basically an agrarian community with main focus on production of maize, groundnuts and tobacco.

The specific objectives of ASWAP-GBI are: To improve the productivity and efficiency of small scale farmers through sustainable irrigation development and to directly influence the prevailing land use practices with the objective of improving the sustainable yield of the water sources required for the long-term viability of the irrigation schemes to be funded within the project.

The MSIA Project is being carried out with the main objective of enhancing food and income security by the year 2018 of at least 324 farm families, reaching out to a total of 1,994 people. The target is basically an agrarian community with main focus on production of maize, groundnuts and tobacco. The project envisages achieving the following: improved annual crop production; build the capacity of farmers to sustainably manage the developed gravity-fed irrigation scheme; enhance natural resources and environmental conservation within Namitete river catchment, and build capacity of farmers in commercial agriculture.

Apart from promotion of irrigated farming, the project also includes various other interventions such as: promotion of afforestation, promotion of sustainable land management including soil and water conservation, promotion of farmer business schools (FBS), promotion of cultivation of drought tolerant crop varieties and capacity building initiatives.

So far the project has seen the successful construction of a 12 meter high dam with the capacity of storing 513,000 cubic meters volume of water in total. This water shall be able to irrigate a scheme of approximately 80 hectares of farm land for a period of not less than five months enabling farmers to irrigate their crops all year round and harvesting up to three times a year.

For the successful implementation of the project and its sustainability beyond EU funding, the local communities were involved from the onset. FISD and FAFOTRAJ carried out community and district level sensitization meetings for awareness creation involving District Executive Committee (DEC), District Advisory Executive Committee Council (DAECC) which are at District level followed by Area Development Committee (ADC) at Traditional Authority and Village Development Committee (VDC) at Group and Village Headmen levels respectively. Through these local structures, communities were mobilized through the development of joint/participatory action plans.

The Project also led to the establishment of Mtete Water Users Associations (WUA). The interim WUA Board was elected by the General Assembly in the catchment and subsequent training was provided to the members. The formation of the WUA was very important in the project as the WUA was responsible for supervision of all dam construction works including construction of physical structures in the irrigation scheme.

Community sensitizations on natural resources management was done to create awareness of environmental and natural resources management (ENRM) aspects of the project. This was followed by the establishment and training of Community Based Natural Resources Management Committees (CBNRMC) and Village Natural Resources Management Committees (VNRMC). 2017 was one good year that saw the completion of the construction of the structures on the scheme. It is the year landmarked by hard way that even saw the committees lead in the management of trees that were procured by the project and distributed to the target communities. The project so far has procured 60,000 tree seedlings against the target of 5000 tree seedlings in the period under review. In the same year FISD further tilled the 40 hectares of land that was developed in the year and pre-financed the project beneficiaries with production costs with the farmers required to pay back upon selling their produce to Seed Co, which FISD linked them with.

MSIA: Towards food and Income Security Project Gallery


Welcome to FISD Limited Company

Get A Quote