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THE NATION

Tuesday, February 27, 2017 ADVERTorial


NASFAM empowering smallholder farmers with
agribusiness skills the case of Lewis Kamchacha
A
s the huge red ball At the end of 2014-15 rain
glistening sun sets up in fed cropping season Lewis used
the horizon, announcing some of the money he profited
a new promising day, Lewis is from the farming business to
already outside his small round buy a diesel electric generator
hut. He is greeted by his two and a small public addresser
dogs wagging their little thin which is now hired by people
tails while backing and yawning in his village for weddings and
in anticipation of another other social gatherings.
hot summer day. Contesting In 2015 Lewis bought an
the dogs are the melodious oxcart which he now uses for
calls and songs from small transporting his crops from the
innocent birds perching on the farm to his house for storage.
remaining trees in the scattered In the same year he also built
bushes around his small village a house with burnt bricks in
compound. which him and his family now
Patseni, Thyolani, lets go, stays. From the crop harvest for
Lewis calls his dogs inviting the 2015-16 rain fed cropping
to follow him as he walks to season he also acquired a
the garden. His wife Malita, motor cycle which is one of the
appears from the bushes things he desired for a long
while balancing on her head time.
a thirty-litre bucket of water. Lewis is very confident of
Wash your face first of all and his familys wellbeing and
wait while I organize myself, improvement of their childrens
calls Malita entreating her livelihood. Lewis has one

Dziko
husband to repeat the early wife and 2 children. Both his
morning chore. Where is the children are in school and he
water, bring it here and hurry, provides them with everything
the sun will soon be hot in the

Lathu!
they need for their education
skies,retorts to the call like one through the money he makes
with an unquenched hangover. from farming through the
In a few minutes the wife new farming practices and
reappears nestling a baby while interventions by NASFAM. The
balancing on her head a large enough to keep the family at times Lewis would carry his associations were formed. 42 year - old farmer is confident

Nthaka
basket containing a variety of together for a few months in crops using a bicycle and travel The National Smallholder of paying for secondary level
parcels; food, water and some the year. a long distance to a government Farmers of Malawi (NASFAM) education for his children who
seed. Lewis leads the way, with Lewis would dream of a market place, the Agricultural provided training in market are now still in primary school.
Patseni and Thyolani jumping future with bumper yields that Development and Marketing research and farm business Despite the rapid change

yathu!
all over him. This is their 30th would give him and his family Corporation(ADMARC) entrepreneurship. According and positive developments
day tilling their small piece of plenty food throughout the which was only reliable and to the 42 year old smallholder in Lewiss life and familys
land where they will grow some year and some surplus to sell. convenient to those who lived farmer, not only did NASFAM wellbeing, he continues to
maize, ground nuts, beans and However, lack of information close to the trading centres. take initiative in providing explain some of the things
sweet potatoes. Their life is a on both strategic marketing To avoid making unintended trainings to farmers, but it also he has benefited from the
type of the Malawian peasant of crops and good agricultural sales of large amounts of provided a reliable market interventions brought in by
who the government and NGOs practices militated against crops to vendors, Lewis always where farmers could sell their NASFAM.
call a smallholder farmer. his will to yield more on his ensured that he had weighed harvest. Above all, when we Through the trainings in
For decades, Lewis small piece of land. He had no his crops to come up with a go to the market we know what marketing, I have also acquired
Kamchacha, 42 from ideal places where to sell his suitable amount of Kilograms our produce is worth, so we skills on financial management.
Zilimnthaka Farmers Club in crops apart from vendors who which is equivalent for the determine the price or bargain, In the past I was very poor
Mchinji District, 120 kilometres would follow him at his place given price. Despite his efforts says the jovial and confident at managing my finances. As
west of Malawis Capital, of residence and giving him no to resolve the challenges he Lewis. a result, I was not able to go
Lilongwe has been making a choice but to sell the harvested was facing, Lewis continued NASFAM also links me and far with my farming business.
living on his small piece of land. crops at lower prices. I had to experience problems in the other members to other Now I know how to balance the
He works hard to achieve a a feeling that a good market marketing his agro-products. stakeholders/organizations money I make as profit and that
level of agricultural output that where I could sell my produce When the National that provide reliable markets which I invest in my farming
is enough to feed his family and would give a better return and Smallholder Farmers for agro-products,said Lewis. business, says Lewis proudly.
to sell whatever surplus that is improve my livelihood. However, Association of Malawi (NASFAM) He adds,The formation of the With a beam of confidence
left for a more comfortable level the problem was that I couldnt came in with different initiatives clubs and farmer associations Lewis Kamchacha said the
of living. However, every year his get such a market, says Lewis. and interventions, smallholder by NASFAM provided me intervention will not only be
achievement never rises above The District Agricultural farmers begun to rely on and the other farmers an beneficial to smallholder
the so called poverty line which Development Office (DADO) farming as their primary source opportunity allowing us to sell farmers for a short period of
in October 2015, the World was not able to provide an of income. The people in the our crop harvest collectively. time. Some of the interventions
Bank updated to US$1.90 a agricultural extension officer in villages of Mchinji district Lewis has been selling his NASFAM has put in action are a
day. his area. If one was available now treat farming as a major crops collectively through means to provide independency
With his family growing, the there would be too limited business entity and income associations close to 3 years to smallholder farmers for a
size of the land is not adequate resources to reach out and generating source, says Lewis now. long run. Kamchacha believes
and of the required quality to make a positive impact in his Kamchacha a 42-year-old For a smallholder farmer, that in the future farmers will no
produce the output needed for village. As a result, Lewis had smallholder farmer who has with the help of NASFAM and longer depend on organizations
consumption. But whatever limited information of good and been operating under NASFAM other similar organisations, to market their agro-products.
happens, using the familys modern agricultural practices since 2012. Lewis has achieved quite a lot, With the experience and the
labour force, Lewis and his which also affected his ability to Before Lewis started perhaps beyond expectation. skills acquired Kamchacha said
wife needs to produce more produce quality agro-products. implementing interventions and In the year 2013 Lewis bought smallholder farmers now have
than this amount in order to Lack of information on good activities which were introduced 2.5 acres of land for farming the ability to market their agro-
acquire other basic necessities agricultural practices and post- by non-governmental from the profits of the farming products through research and
such as clothes, hut, lighting, harvest handling also affected organizations like NASFAM, business. He also invested powerful skills of negotiating
and school fees for secondary the way Lewis kept the harvest there were a number of factors some of the profited income of with stakeholders including
school - going children, school in storage. This resulted in which affected his ability to do that years crop harvest into a buyers, agro-dealers and
uniform for primary school - great losses of harvested crops well as a smallholder farmer. small scale business where he transporters.
going children and some money which were usually destroyed by In the year 2012, Lewis now sells bicycle spare parts. Through the multi-
to help with the production rodents every year. stakeholder partnerships, the
Lewis, the 42 year -
process.
old farmer, required
Through the trainings in marketing, I have also office of agriculture, NASFAM
As a cultural prejudice, and other organizations
Lewis like all the people in his information on acquired skills on financial management. In the past are working hand in hand
modern ways of
village believed that running
how he could keep I was very poor at managing my finances. As a result, I to ensure farmers in the
small scale businesses such as villages of Mchinji District
owning a local grocery was the his crops in storage was not able to go far with my farming business. Now are benefiting from farming
only way one can successfully without damage.
earn enough money to improve According to I know how to balance the money I make as profit and to improve their livelihoods.
Lewis Kamchacha is now a full
their livelihood. Smallholder Lewis, there wasnt that which I invest in my farming business time member of the National
farmers only relied on maize, much he could Association of Smallholder
tobacco and ground nuts as have done as a Farmers of Malawi (NASFAM)
For comments and feedback smallholder farmer to solve the decided to take a step forward In the year 2014 Lewis also
their cash crops as far as and has been given a huge
on this article, send email to farming was concerned. With challenges he was facing. To by seeking help from non- managed to buy more farm responsibility in which he
bmakwenda@nasfam.org meagre resources, produces try to find a solution for some governmental organizations. In inputs like fertilizer which he became a role model and an
and proceeds derived from of the challenges he faced in doing so he started by joining applied in all his cultivated agricultural practices advisor
farming were therefore only marketing his commodities, clubs in which later farmer crops. from that of farmer to farmer. n