My name is Marko Saukila Zambezi from Lilongwe the capital city of Malawi. I am 32 years old.
I am Founder and Executive Officer of a local not-for-profit and Non-Governmental Organisation called Foundation for the Integration of culture and Human Rights (FICuHR), registered in 2014. We are agents for progressive sustainable change on rights based issues and one of our key efforts has been on eradicating poverty through urban farming. Our work can be accessed from the following social media platforms: Facebook (/Foundation for the Integration of Culture and Human Rights), blog, and You-tube channel (CUHR265).
I am currently studying Marketing at Chartered Institute of Management (CIM). I possess an IGCSE and a paralegal certificate. I also hold the following certificates endorsed by The University of Fraser Valley (Canada), UN-Habitat and Eminus Academy (online). The courses completed are:
- Social Enterprise-Sustainable Change for Development
- Urban Agriculture: Seeds to Market
- Community Mapping and Digital Story Telling
- Marketing and e-Marketing
As you are already aware the three pillars of food security are, availability, access and utilisation. Malawi is one of the poorest Countries in the SADC region and hunger seems to visit yearly. I attribute this problem to lack of quality education on changing trends in agriculture. I would like communities and households to empower themselves through subsistence urban farming utilising any possible available space, and micro agribusiness enterprises with well-informed sustainable farming practices.
At FICuHR we are currently running a project called, “Urban Farming for Food Security- Masonga Village”. The project is still in its pilot stage, it was coined in line with the just elapsed Millennium Development goals (MDGs) articles 1, 3 and 7, and is currently guided by the recently introduced Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) particularly articles 1, 2, 5, 6, 8 and 12. This project aims to empower the community members in Masonga Village; to have broader perspective on local farming than just the often immediate purpose of farming to eat. Such a purpose is difficult to sustain with the forever changing geo-demographic factors.
Our primary assets at the project are three pieces of land on lease. The largest one measures 75 metres long and 30 metres wide. The other two sit on separate plots each approximately 35 metres long and 20 metres wide. The plots are within a ¼ of a kilometre from each other. We have also manually constructed a well, it is 30 metres deep, and we use it for irrigation during dry spells.
We have successfully grown a different variety of groundnuts, sweet potatoes and maize crops on the land. As this is a charity project, proceeds are injected back onto the land in preparation for the next farming quarter. The funds raised are used for purchasing fertilizers, educating the community and subsidizing the products to members. Aside from buying products from the project at subsidized prices, the project also offers temporary work which is quite popular as it boosts household incomes.
One aspect that is damaging food security in the region is rural to urban migration in search of employment. It should also be noted that changes in attitude and lifestyle among the youth driven by a growing perception that farming is for the elder generation is also damaging food security. We intend to present a pragmatic case for urban farming being profitable and trendy amongst the youth.
We intend to extend the project to livestock to maximize potential. We are planning on building a chicken run, for at least 200 chickens to start off with. Local chicken preferably as these are more resistant to disease and their meat fetches more on price at the market as compared to rival types and they are cheaper to feed.
These chickens will be sold to community members at subsidized prices therefore ensuring every family can afford to eat white meat and they have a competitive advantage when they set their prices at the market should they wish to order for business.
Another advantage of introducing poultry farming on the project is that, chicken waste will be used as manure, thereby reducing the cost and need for fertilizers. Manure will also be available for sale to the community at subsidized prices to make sure everybody is able to sustain their own subsistence farm at home.
Rabbits have also been included on the introduction of livestock to the project. Rabbits are very a popular treat and fetch close to chicken prices on the market.
We want to teach the community other aspects and benefits of urban farming. For instance, as much as it is commendable to grow your own food, it should also be practiced in such a way that one grows healthy food which is a pillar of food security. A healthy environment will always give back trifold to the farmer; therefore keeping a healthy ecosystem on our land is a serious agenda for the project.
A detailed business plan proposal for the project is available upon request.
Project Objectives: “Urban Farming for Food Security – Masonga Villlage”
- To create a sustainable environment suitable for farming
- To encourage the youth and the community to engage in profitable farming
- To teach the community about food security cycle and the future of urban farming
- To empower women using agri-business training as a tool
- To achieve sustainable food security and social balance in the community
Project approximated expences
(Item – Amount)
Chicken run and rabbit shelter construction $ 1750
Irrigation and feeding systems $ 1250
Supplies and other $ 1250
Casual labour $ 750
Grand total: $ 5000
Blogpost, video and picture submitted by Marko Saukila Zambezi (Malawi) – culturehr265(at)gmail.com
The content, structure and grammar is at the discretion of the author only.
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