Soils, Food and Healthy Communities

Soils, Food and Healthy Communities

In the upcoming month, the MAFFA project will be holding farmer exchanges within both the north and central regions, as well as between the two areas. Farmers will stay for around one week with their host households, to learn from other communities. The goal of these exchanges is for MAFFA participants to trade knowledge in farming techniques and experiments done in in other areas. As households have conducted experiments through MAFFA on a variety of topics in the past three years (including experimenting with different planting methods, introduction of more crops such as sorghum, millet, cowpea, tree-planting, residue incorporation, compost manure and so on, there is a lot of experience to be shared. We hope this will encourage further experimentation and sharing. The Farmer Research Team is helping to organize this event.

«»

We are happy to announce that our second Youth Community Promoter, Cristina Hara, has returned from maternity leave! Cristina is happy to be back at work and looking forward to 2015’s activities.

More Objective 4 of MAFFA news: the Youth Clubs in the Ekwendeni region have expressed interest in growing the crops used in their small business initiatives.  The youth clubs have been developing food businesses with a variety of products (breads, juices, doughnuts, groundnut and sweet potato fritters, etc) to sell as a source of livelihood in local areas. Previously they have bought locally rather than grown the ingredients. The MAFFA youth promoters and the rest of our team will be investigating opportunities for youth agriculture in the coming months.

Sidney Madsen’s visit to Malawi has gone well so far; after several weeks in Ekwendeni in the Northern region, she will soon be traveling to Lobi in the Central region to continue her research. Sidney has been staying with participating farmers and FRT (Farmer Research Team) members in Chimbongondo and Kabwanda areas, among others, to study and evaluate MAFFA’s participatory approach. Sidney has worked closely with Sume Mbewe, our Monitoring and Evaluation Officer. She intends to hold project meetings using the Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation method, to introduce this format to the MAFFA team. We are delighted that her trip has been enjoyable, efficient and successful so far. (See more about Sidney Madsen’s work with SFHC here: http://soilandfood.org/?p=258)

Gender training: In January, several days of training and discussion were held in Lobi on gender equality. As Objective 5 of MAFFA focuses on giving women increased decision-making power over agriculture, food security and income, this is an important component of our work.

Nutrient cereal analysis: In Objectives 1 and 3 of MAFFA¬† (See http://soilandfood.org/?p=133 for a summary of MAFFA’s objectives): Alongside Dr. Trust Beta, three research associates at the University of Manitoba, from China and Korea, have been analyzing samples of legume and cereal varieties sent to them. Their goal was to perform a thorough nutrient analysis of the many varieties grown and studied through MAFFA; the results so far have been positive. Their findings will be presented at the American Association of Cereal Chemists, in Minneapolis in October. Stay tuned!

 

«»