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Averting food crisis with victory gardens

Women standing in one of the victory gardens

LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)- In a bid to avert the perennial food crisis the country’s nutritional organization Face-to-Face is intensifying hands-on maximizing waste water for Victory Gardens, to feed families.

The initiative is the first of its kind to use organic and permaculture methods, to fertilize the soil, maximize water-use, among others.

The project comes after a decade of unsuccessful anti-hunger programs in Malawi, many of which mainly relied on government fertilizer coupons, a functioning distribution system, stable economy and good farming weather.

Launched in 2016, the project has harnessed farmers with skills that within nine months, the initiative has created over 4,000 gardens in the three districts of Phalombe, Nkhata-Bay and Lilongwe.

With Victory Gardens, families are able to reduce the risk of relying on weather-dependent crops, including maize.

The gardens enable communities to reduce debt, as the gardens do not cost them any money  to cultivate or maintain, and require no special farm inputs.

The organization has therefore, announced the expansion of the Victory Gardens campaign for the next two years (2017-2019), to create 50,000 home gardens that will feed approximately 150,000 people in Malawi.

Addressing the news conference on Friday, the organization’s project manager, Mike Chikakuda said the campaign puts full responsibility of families feeding themselves squarely and firmly into the hands of the participating individuals.

Chikakuda said the campaign promotes villagers with already hands-on farming knowledge, to improve on it by using organic manure, and maximize usage of waste water.

“Instead of relying on rainwater or tap water to run gardens, the project advocates the use of waste water from house chores. This is after we learn of the water crisis challenging the nation.

“We are hoping that by 2019 about 50,000 gardens will be able to feed about 150,000 families with various food crops, including vegetables, fruits, and maize. What we need to understand the whole concept of averting the hunger crisis that is annually haunting the nation,” said Chikakuda.

Group Village Headman (GVH) Makulenje of Traditional Authority (T.A.) Chiseka in Lilongwe, testified the success of the Victory Gardens project, saying his subjects are able to sustain their families through the initiative’s proceeds.

GVH Mangulenje lauded the initiative’s impact and said the nutrition levels  in the communities in his villages, have highly improved for the better.

“At first we didn’t take the organization seriously, considering the water crisis. Additionally, we don’t have many boreholes or nearby rivers in our area. But after we were advised in the use of waste water, and animal dung for organic manure, my subjects have started reaping results, thereby raising community nutrition levels,” a delighted GVH Mangulenje said.

 

Maravi Post correspondent:

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