By: Vincent Gunde
The African Institute of Corporate Citizenship ( AICC) has entered into a one year partnership with Norwegian Church Aid ( NCA) to implement CASH project in Dowa district.
The CASH project is aimed at contributing towards sustainable horticulture production that will result in smallholder farmer’s increase in income and consequently leading to poverty reduction in Mndolera EPA of the district.
The project has the specific objective of increasing profitability for smallholder farming through drip Irrigation, increasing production and productivity of horticultural produce in the district.
Speaking during a District executive council committee meeting held at the Dowa boma, AICC’s Programs Coordinator, Emmanuel Mponya, said 2,500 farmers from all the 9 sections in Mndolera EPA will be targeted with a possibility of extension to other EPA’s in the district as well as other districts if successful.
Mponya said the project will use the concept of micro investment model whereby farmers will be helped to access affordable Irrigation kits for horticulture production.
He said the” micro investing” concept emerged from Norwegian Church Aid’s ( NCA) pilot project in Tanzania pursuing a scalable approach to help farmers climb out of poverty.
The project coordinator said the concept is aiming at inspiring and serving a large number of farmers who should become drivers of economic development in their communities mainly focusing on affordable investments, profitability right from the first harvest and reinvestments.
He said the evidence gathered from Tanzania pilot project with more than 3,500 farmers, shows that it is affordable, provide extra ordinary profit level, higher revenue per sq. metre and a quick return on investment giving an example a Tanzanian farmer who utilised 32 sq. metre in front of her house, invested USD 28 in 4 micro kits and had a return of USD 500 at the end of 3 months.
Mponya said the project has put in place exit and sustainability strategies including capacity building through knowledge transfer from agronomists to lead farmer and agripreneurs to provide low cost services at local community level.
Dowa District Council’s Irrigation Engineer, Jackson Manda, urged AICC to work with the two District Agricultural Development Officers for the district and the Irrigation office for the successful implementation of the project in the district.
In his remarks, District Commissioner for Dowa, Alex Mdooko, reminded all Civil Society Organisations( CSO) that any interventions which are being implemented in the district, policy holders must be taken on board to provide technical expertise.
Mdooko said the sectors concerned need to monitor and supervise the work being done for the good of the communities in.the district.
The CASH project will be implemented in Dowa district with a total budget of USD 305,000.