Development Aid from People to People (DAPP) has been cooperating with the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development in the development, expansion and implementation of the Farmers’ Club program. This unique effort has helped to reduce hunger and malnutrition, expand farm productivity, and substantially increase farm income. The overall objective of the Farmers’ Clubs program is to train and organize smallholder farmers in rural areas to create community structures which will assist them to maximize their returns on labor investment and other inputs and ultimately improve their living conditions. The Farmers’ Clubs have also been established as a wider forum of learning and sharing of farming experiences, benefiting thousands from family members and neighbors of the participating farmers to Government extension staff and lead farmers.
The promotion of collaborative processing that adds value, such as extracting milk from soy, increases the range of available food to farmers while also providing them with a greater source of income. There are 10 farmers’ associations which have been established in various areas to strengthen the clubs’ transition into collective and self-running entities that are sustainable beyond the program period.
From the initial 12.000 farmers which the program started with back in 2006, over 60.000 farmers organized in clubs of 50 members have been trained over the years. The trainings offered emphasize food security, soil and water conservation and use of improved plant varieties as well as integrated pest management techniques and crop rotation to avoid soil depletion. Access to water is key to improving Malawi’s agricultural sector. As such, the program has been focusing on increasing water availability and also on conserving its usage, as the effects of global warming and drought are ever present threats to the food security of the smallholder farmers.
Currently, the program is working with 15.650 farmers in 4 districts namely; Thyolo, Mzimba, Chiradzulu and Dowa districts.