Joining a Self Help Africa/United Purpose farmers’ collective in southern Malawi has provided farmer Agason Pheta and his family with knowledge and training that has transformed their incomes – and their lives.
Before joining the collectives, the Pheta family had been growing maize on their two-acre holding for years but a lack of fertiliser and hybrid seeds meant they were unable to harvest more than 100kg. Life in the grass-thatched house Agason shared with his wife, 20-year-old daughter and two-year-old granddaughter was challenging, as the family were not harvesting enough to feed themselves year-around or meet their immediate needs.
But just two years after gaining training in modern farming technologies through two United Purpose-led, EU-supported projects – the Pro-resilience Action (Pro-ACT) project and the Social Support for Resilience’ (SoSure) programme – at the local farmers club, the family’s crop had increased by up to 600 per cent. Not only was this enough to feed the family all year, but the Pheta family were also able to invest in a local savings and loans group, which gave them the means to build a watertight home and invest in a goat.
The future is looking much brighter. Agason and his family now plan to breed goats to increase their income and help withstand any weather-related shocks or crises. In addition, the Phetas hope to continue to increase their maize production on their existing holding. Further home improvements are on the horizon, including a cement floor and plastered walls.
Agason is also part of the local natural resource management team, and is involved in tree planting activities and forest management.
“Our family has completely transformed to a much better way of living, particularly in terms of food availability and a decent home,” said Agason.
In Malawi, United Purpose and Self Help Africa have helped thousands of farming families gain access to the knowledge, technology and resources they need to strengthen their own resilience, food and nutrition security.
For more information on our work in Malawi, visit our Malawi page here.