Article about SFHC on UN website

The nutritional results of SFHC have been the focus of a recent story on the website of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:

http://www.irinnews.org/report.aspx?reportID=92425

This story has received positive attention from other sources, including a blog about agricultural biodiversity – see http://agro.biodiver.se/2011/04/agricultural-diversity-improves-health/

Biodiversity article in PNAS includes SFHC work

A recent article published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences highlights the critical role that agrobiodiversity plays in improving soil fertility, incomes and food security, while enhancing ecological sustainability and providing more stable yields. The study examines the ecological and economic role that a more diverse cropping system, using legumes, have in Malawi. Dr. Sieglinde Snapp, a crop ecologist who has collaborated with SFHC for many years, was the first author. The study included data from Ekwendeni, and Dr. Rachel Bezner Kerr, the SFHC Research Coordinator, was another co-author of the study, along with Dr. George Kanyama-Phiri, another SFHC collaborator who has recently been appointed by the President of Malawi as the head of the Green Revolution Development programme in Malawi. The article information is as follows:

Snapp, S. S., M.J. Blackie, R.A. Gilbert, R. Bezner Kerr, G.Y. Kanyama-Phiri. ‘Biodiversity can support a greener revolution in Africa’ Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. doi:10.1073/pnas.1007199107

A full abstract is available in the ‘Research Results’ section of the website.

BBC radio highlights SFHC

SFHC is highlighted on a recent radio programme on the BBC radio 4. Click on the following link to listen.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-12061998

The broadcaster travelled to Malawi and highlighted the work of SFHC as a future alternative for Malawi. Lizzie Shumba (project coordinator) and Enoch Chione (community promoter and FRT member) are both interviewed.

New article in Public Health Nutrition

Rachel Bezner Kerr, Peter Berti and Lizzie Shumba recently had an article published in Public Health Nutrition which documents the positive nutritional effects which SFHC has had on children’s growth, in villages which are actively involved in SFHC. The full abstract is listed in our ‘Research results’ section. The article is as follows:

Bezner Kerr, R.,  Berti, P.R. and Shumba, L. 2010 ‘Effects of Participatory Agriculture and Nutrition project on Child Growth in Northern Malawi Public Health Nutrition (Cambridge University Press) doi:10.1017/S1368980010002545

SFHC in the news

SFHC has been highlighted by the International Development Research Centre on their website: http://www.idrc.ca/en/ev-156175-201-1-DO_TOPIC.html

An article in the magazine ‘Seedling’ also highlighted SFHC, including an interview with Enoch Chione, a participating farmer and SFHC community promoter (see cover of magazine and ‘Box 5’ which was co-authored by Lizzie Shumba and Rachel Bezner Kerr): http://www.grain.org/seedling/?id=665

Farmers testing Cowpea and Sorghum

Two hundred farmers throughout Ekwendeni region tested sorghum and cowpea in 2009-2010 season as possible drought-tolerant crops to include in their farming system to increase food security. Farmers designed their own experiments to test the crops, some growing them in intercrops, others trying sole-cropping systems. All farmers met to discuss their experiments in February, to exchange ideas and experiences. Some farmers had difficulty with germination of the sorghum, which is a very small-seeded crop, but many were excited by the possibility of adding another crop which is better able to withstand dry spells. An initial assessment of the experiments will be conducted after the harvest is completed.

Planning Meeting for new Climate Change Adaptation project

SFHC held a planning meeting with colleagues from the Ekwendeni Hospital AIDS Programme, Bunda College of Agriculture, the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, the University of Western Ontario (Canada) and MALEZA in May 2010. We are launching a new research project, funded by the International Development Research Centre, called  Participatory Farmer Research on Agroecological Adaptation to Environmental Change and HIV/AIDS in Malawi. The project, which is taking place in Ekwendeni and Kasungu (central Malawi) will involve participatory experiments with 400 households on climate change adaptation strategies, along with research to understand farmer and government perspectives on climate change.

Recipes demonstrated to Canadian visitors

A group of sixteen Canadians, representing the Presbyterian Church in Canada, visited the SFHC project in August. Several healthy recipes were prepared by participating farmers in the presence of the visitors. Some of these were as follows:soya milk, pigeonpea relish, soya meat, fried bananas, soya coffee, pigeonpea and bananas. The visitors sampled the dishes and enjoyed some songs with the farmers.

SFHC members attend policy workshop

Lizzie Shumba and Rachel Bezner Kerr attended a policy workshop on soil fertility management and seed systems in Lilongwe, Malawi August 31-Sept. 1 2009. The workshop was organized by Bunda College of Agriculture and the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security to discuss how legumes can be better linked to other efforts to address food security. Several interesting policy ideas were discussed and will be presented to government representatives. Lizzie and Rachel raised the work of SFHC as one way that government can support farmers in trying to address food security and soil fertility.

Participatory Workshop a Success

Lizzie Shumba presents yield data at participatory workshop

A participatory workshop was held in May 2009 with 60 farmer representatives as well as staff and representatives from the Ekwendeni Hospital AIDS Program. The workshop involved assessing challenges and achievements of the project over the last 3 years, and thinking about strategies for the next few years. Rachel Bezner Kerr and Lizzie Shumba presented some highlights from research findings from the past three years. Farmers were keen to have these results published in chiTumbuka so that they could present them to the communities. The workshop was considered very helpful for planning for steps ahead.

Workshop participants examine each others\' successes and challenges written on sticky notes.