As the climate gets hotter and drier, farmers in sub-Saharan Africa are finding it harder to grow food and earn an income despite being among the smallest contributors of carbon emissions. At Self Help Africa, we’re working to change this – through a range of climate smart farming methods that help mitigate the impact of climate change by nourishing soil, conserving moisture, using water in the most efficient possible way, planting trees and promoting alternate crops..
As an example of climate smart agriculture in action, members of Witimba Farmer Field School in Malawi undertook a study on moisture retention technologies to help them maximise the effectiveness of the water sources available. The group also started a business plot using pit planting. The crop stand attracted people from surrounding villages who were keen to learn about the technology and methods involved.
“If we adopt the technologies from the farmer field schools we will become food and income secure” says Readwell Mwanja, a community facilitator. The field school will soon undertake another study to find the most effective planting system for their groundnuts to achieve high yields. These studies and their findings will help other smallholder farmers adapt and build resilience to climate change.
Members are also encouraged to use their back gardens to grow vegetables, to ensure a constant source of nutrition year-round.“ This project is unique because it empowers us to make decisions based on the observations we make on our study plot” says Mwanja.
In a further example of the group’s commitment to using climate-smart agriculture techniques, they have planted 2,000 trees to improve soil fertility in their community. Climate smart practices seek to increase food security while reducing greenhouse gas emissions – a win-win!
Mwanja is a big believer in teaching by doing and loves his role because he gets to see people practising what they have learned and using climate smart techniques to improve their livelihoods. “My life has changed completely, I can eat the six main food groups and my family are healthy and happy.”
Witimba Farmer Field School are part of the KULIMA BETTER project, funded by the European Union, operating since 2018, with Self Help Africa as the lead agency. For more information of our work on climate: click here.