Listening to the story of Davison Kachele 8 years ago his life was summed up in one word:”immiserated”. He simply existed with no hope of success. Born in 1977, Davison Kachele has spent all has life in Chiyembe village in Tradition Authority Chitekwele, Lilongwe district. He lived a life of hardship and anxiety.
Kachele used to work so hard but the income was not tallying with the work. I worked for others more that myself,” says Kachele in reference to the time used to do some piecework for food and income.
“My wife and I could work on someone’s filed for days just to receive a bucket of maize that would only last us for about 2 weeks, eating sparing “, adds Kachele while reflecting on his past.
Considering that he lives in community where extended family comes to play, Kachele found such a culture inconveniencing to his economic life due to the poverty he was in.
“it was unpleasant to see visitors coming over during meal times, let alone those spending a night or more in our home. We had no food to feed them. It was inconveniencing to us,”.
Today however, this sounds like a dream. Kachele and his wife are now some of the few notable well to do people in Chiyembe village.
Life began to turn around in 2016, when officials from Lilongwe District Council was registering beneficiaries for a Social Cash Transfer Programme in the area and he was identified as one of the beneficiaries. “Then the public works program started in our area and I was able to join the savings group,” said Kachele.
There were involved in afforestation program and then graduated under Malangalanga Cluster. “Over time, with my savings from my public works wages, I was able to borrow from the group and set up my own spot for selling small groceries in the village,” he said. The group started with 60 people but later only 35 people remained while the rest pulled out. Then Comsip introduced us soya beans farming and gave us start pack of soya seed as a group. However, I have benefited from individual farming.
The Malawi Social Action Fund (MASAF) IV Programme is funded by the World Bank to the tune of US$ 75 Million is providing productive safety nets to elderly and vulnerable households through cash transfers while some beneficiaries participate in public works programmes.
I was like a blind person’s eye is slowly opening up to see earth’s blindness. I began to see the potential within me through the farming business lessons I received. it was eye opening says Kachele as he narrates his path to success.
Kachele is among thousands of farmers accessing legumes under the Legumes Enterprise Structured Production (Lesp) courtesy of Community Savings and Investment Promotion (Comsip) Union.
Comsip Cooperative Union Limited has supported its member cooperatives and clusters in the production of legumes under the Legumes Enterprise Structured Production (Lesp) project as an investment enterprise in addition to meeting the needs for nutrition and health of the farmers’ families.
Lesp is a legumes production and market structure programme in which Comsip is supporting cooperative members in nine districts in the production and marketing of beans, soybean and pigeon peas.
The project is in its third year now and it is promoting the production of soya, sugar beans and pigeon peas, and links them to markets, which has been the greatest challenge many legume farmers in the country have been facing.
Kachele attributes his success to soya crop. “When the Soya bean seed start pack
was introduced some eight years ago, I did not anticipate it would be life changing. it has really changed the lives of many in this village and Iam gland to be one of them,” adds Kachele.
“Beginning 2017, I began to see change. The real transformation path however started in, end 2017. I had two acres of soya from which I realized about 2500,000 thousand Malawi kwacha. It was the first time to handle such an amount of money at a goal. Things around us began to change. One could tell even from our dressing. We could now afford some other necessities with ease. Before, we could not afford even a pair of shoes on our feet. It was something unthinkable “, Kachele recalls.
The success prompted him to rent some additional land to increase his acreage. Today he farms more than 7 acres of land, all dedicated to soya beans.
Since 2017, Kachele has been on path of success, making strides every season. Within this period, he has managed to accumulate some notable property as well as saving.
As things began to change, he purposed to have an oxcart to help him transport his produce from filed as well as taking it to the market. I also have radio receiver, Solar, 12 goats, 15 chickens, a TV screen, and a brick house among others.
As our conversation rolled on, he indelible memory popped up in Kachele’s mind. He paused and sighed. when asked what went through his mind, he said: sometimes I find it hard to believe that aim now able to provide for my household like I do
Allan Chilupani Assistance, Community Development officer in Lilongwe district said Lesp has offered farmers a new lease of life. Under the Livelihood and Skills Development component of MASAF 4, the Legume Enterprise and Structured Production Project implemented by COMSIP Cooperative Union Limited is supporting members in the production of legumes by providing inputs such as seed, fertilizer and pesticides to them.
In an interview, Comsip Union Information, Education and Communication Officer, Emmanuel Muwamba, said the union has started buying 200 tones’ of soya bean and 110 tones of beans from cooperatives.
“There are so many benefits associated with the production of legumes. It is an income generating activity for the members of participating cooperatives. At the same time, on nutritional benefits, Comsip considers legumes to be of high value, in terms of nutrition. The soya bean and sugar beans are highly nutritious. So, we are telling the members that, apart from selling legumes to the union, they should also take part in consumption for the health of their own families,” Muwamba said.
Through what is called matching grant principle, Comsip contributes 70 percent of inputs to the production of earmarked crops while cooperatives contribute 30 percent in the first year of production.
The contribution percentage for production, however, changes in subsequent years as Comsip promotes self-reliance. COMSIP is working in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture.