In Nancholi, like the rest of Malawi, people rely on subsistence farming, but the food supply situation is precarious and the country is prone to natural disasters of both extremes – from drought to heavy rainfalls (See Malawi Floods 2015). NAYO has two main schemes within the Food Security Programme to meet these different extremes:
During the dry season, farming inputs such as seeds and fertilizers are given to people with the greatest need in the community, some of who are HIV positive. This means that although they may not be able to work, they can still have access to resources to allow them to grow food for themselves. UNICEF Malawi Floods 13May2015
An irrigation scheme is also carried out in the dry season. Channels are dug in order to collect water when it rains. Training is provided on how to dig irrigation channels by the Ministry of Agriculture who work in collaboration with NAYO. Digging the channels is often difficult, as it is complex to take water from the main river and channel it into the fields which are often on steep slopes.
Vegetables and green maize are also distributed and grown during the dry season. Training is given on how to harvest and sell these, as well as how to control pests which may attack the crops.
During the rainy season, food security training and education is carried out. Good methods of farming, planting and land management is advocated, along with how to farm effectively on steep slopes. How to apply fertilizer is also important and controlling pests and diseases that could affect the crops. Finally, training is given on how to cultivate and store crops and food to ensure they last for the dry season.
Farming inputs are also distributed during the rainy season.
The Food Security programme aims to provide people in need with a sustainable food source and equip them with good farming practices. Also, the programme aims to sustain NAYO’s Home-Based Care and Early Child Development programmes.
Beneficiaries are selected by NAYO volunteers. They must spend the money they make in a sustainable way, in order to improve their quality of life.
– For the irrigation scheme, there is a lack of resources. Currently local resources such as plastic and wood is used, however in order for the scheme to be more efficient and cover a larger area, cement and irrigation pipes are needed.
– The outreach of the programme is not as big as the community requires. Currently 50 people benefit, however there are 175 in total who are in need of help. There are not always enough resources for everyone, particularly with the distribution of the farming inputs.