Norway supports improved learning and nutrition in Malawi through home-grown school feeding

https://reliefweb.int/report/malawi/norway-supports-improved-learning-and-nutrition-malawi-through-home-grown-school

Badre Bahaji, WFP Malawi, Tel. +265 994 726 999

LILONGWE – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) welcomes a contribution of NOK 13.4 million (USD 1.5 million) from the Government of Norway to support the provision of locally produced school meals for 50,000 primary school learners in Malawi. This forms part of a larger contribution of NOK 50 million (around USD 5.5 million) to locally produced school meals programmes in three countries – Ethiopia, Malawi and Niger.

Through the home-grown school feeding model, food commodities for school meals will be supplied by 1,000 smallholder farmers, particularly women, who will also benefit from capacity development in production, post-harvest handling and marketing.

The contribution will sustain and improve access to education by providing nutritious and diversified school meals. Other expected gains from this funding include improved enrolment, attendance and retention in school.

“We commend the Government of Norway for its strong commitment to the home-grown school feeding model that will not only provide learners with a daily meal, but also strengthen the local economy and the broader food value chain,” said Paul Turnbull, WFP Country Director and Representative in Malawi.

Under the home-grown school feeding model, WFP partners with schools through district councils to purchase food locally. Participating schools sign contracts with farmers to procure local and diversified foods. This new contribution will strengthen the gains made with Norway’s humanitarian support to Malawi since 2014 and will contribute to the development of a sustainable model for a national school meals programme.

“A daily nutritious school meal is a strong incentive to enroll and keep children in school,” said Ørnulf Strøm, Chargé d’Affaires at the Norwegian Embassy in Lilongwe. “We are very pleased to continue supporting the school feeding programme in Malawi in partnership with WFP and the Government of Malawi. The funds will complement the Norwegian support to home grown school meals under the Joint Programme for Girl’s Education.”

The interventions will also promote household and community level resilience, as well as contribute to improved nutrition, education and economic development of communities. They will also contribute to women’s empowerment and gender equality by promoting access to education for girls and ensuring that women farmers participate in economic activities.

On-site in-school feeding resumed in October this year after suspension as part of the Government of Malawi’s COVID-19 containment measures. Throughout the suspension of in-school feeding, WFP continued to provide school meals as take-home rations. WFP’s school feeding intervention in Malawi reaches about 600,000 children in seven districts.

About WFP

The United Nations World Food Programme is the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. We are the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change. Our efforts focus on responding to emergencies while strengthening the Government’s social protection system; preventing chronic malnutrition; providing locally produced school meals; and building resilience of rural communities to be more self-reliant and equipped to face climatic shocks.

WFP welcomes Norway’s contribution to support school feeding in Malawi

https://www.devdiscourse.com/article/headlines/1863815-wfp-welcomes-norways-contribution-to-support-school-feeding-in-malawi

The contribution will sustain and improve access to education by providing nutritious and diversified school meals.

“A daily nutritious school meal is a strong incentive to enroll and keep children in school,” said Ørnulf Strøm, Chargé d’Affaires at the Norwegian Embassy in Lilongwe. Image Credit: Wikipedia

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The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) welcomes a contribution of NOK 13.4 million (USD 1.5 million) from the Government of Norway to support the provision of locally produced school meals for 50,000 primary school learners in Malawi. This forms part of a larger contribution of NOK 50 million (around USD 5.5 million) to locally produced school meals programmes in three countries – Ethiopia, Malawi and Niger.

Through the home-grown school feeding model, food commodities for school meals will be supplied by 1,000 smallholder farmers, particularly women, who will also benefit from capacity development in production, post-harvest handling and marketing.

The contribution will sustain and improve access to education by providing nutritious and diversified school meals. Other expected gains from this funding include improved enrolment, attendance and retention in school.

“We commend the Government of Norway for its strong commitment to the home-grown school feeding model that will not only provide learners with a daily meal, but also strengthen the local economy and the broader food value chain,” said Paul Turnbull, WFP Country Director and Representative in Malawi.

Under the home-grown school feeding model, WFP partners with schools through district councils to purchase food locally. Participating schools sign contracts with farmers to procure local and diversified foods. This new contribution will strengthen the gains made with Norway’s humanitarian support to Malawi since 2014 and will contribute to the development of a sustainable model for a national school meals programme.

“A daily nutritious school meal is a strong incentive to enroll and keep children in school,” said Ørnulf Strøm, Chargé d’Affaires at the Norwegian Embassy in Lilongwe. “We are very pleased to continue supporting the school feeding programme in Malawi in partnership with WFP and the Government of Malawi. The funds will complement the Norwegian support to home grown school meals under the Joint Programme for Girl’s Education.”

The interventions will also promote household and community level resilience, as well as contribute to improved nutrition, education and economic development of communities. They will also contribute to women’s empowerment and gender equality by promoting access to education for girls and ensuring that women farmers participate in economic activities.

On-site in-school feeding resumed in October this year after suspension as part of the Government of Malawi’s COVID-19 containment measures. Throughout the suspension of in-school feeding, WFP continued to provide school meals as take-home rations. WFP’s school feeding intervention in Malawi reaches about 600,000 children in seven districts.

(With Inputs from APO)

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Let us suppose a part of the contributions to the home-grown school feeding model could be spent to the construction of a school garden for every Malawian school, in which all the school children could grow a number of food crops in containers (see e.g. https://www.facebook.com/groups/221343224576801/). That would be not only a sustainable action to alleviate malnutrition of the Malawian children, but also a step in the right direction to convince all families to set up a container garden at home.

(Prof. Dr. Willem VAN COTTHEM, Ghent University, Belgium)

Malawi President Announces Economic Recovery Plan Amid COVID Pandemic

Nearly 80% of Malawians are employed in agriculture ! (looking for suggestions about agriculture).

HIGHLIGHTS

https://www.voanews.com/a/malawi-president-announces-economic-recovery-plan-amid-covid-19/6365184.html

BLANTYRE, MALAWI — 

Malawi’s president has announced a plan to help the country’s struggling economy recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The plan, which includes government-wide spending cuts, follows nationwide protests against the high cost of living in Malawi, one of Africa’s poorest nations.

President Lazarus Chakwera’s economic recovery plan was announced two days after Chakwera’s predecessor, Peter Mutharika, criticized the Chakwera administration for ruining the country’s economy.

It also follows a series of nationwide protests against the high cost of living, driven by inflation, which has reached 11%.

During his national address Tuesday evening, Chakwera acknowledged there are economic problems facing the country.

“Our economy is bleeding from four wounds at once. The first long term wound our economy is suffering from is its structural limitations, for ours is an agro-based economy that has a narrow production base,” Chakwera said.

He said as such any plan must help restructure the economy by stimulating sectors like mining, infrastructure development and manufacturing.

However, Chakwera said the main cause of the country’s economic slowdown is COVID-19.

“The third long-term wound our economy is bleeding from is the COVID-19 pandemic, which is now in its fourth wave of not only infecting swathes of the population, but also tearing into the very fabric of our economic development,” Chakwera said.

Since the onset of the pandemic last year, Malawi has registered over 60,000 cases and more than 2,300 deaths. Twice, the government has declared a national disaster, with accompanying restrictions of movement.

FILE - A vegetable vendor displays his goods inside the Area 23 agricultural commodity market in Lilongwe, Malawi, May 4, 2020.
FILE – A vegetable vendor displays his goods inside the Area 23 agricultural commodity market in Lilongwe, Malawi, May 4, 2020.

Chakwera said although the restrictions have saved lives, they have caused inevitable damage to livelihoods.

“Towards that end, the social economic plan I am announcing today, included interventions aimed at intensifying efforts aimed to vaccinate the population. So far only half a million people are fully vaccinated, which is less than 5% of the targeted 11 million people to reach herd immunity,” Chakwera said.

As part of the enforcement of the plan, Chakwera ordered government officials to emulate his example by reducing spending.

“I am already scaling my travel plan for the recovery period, so I expect every ministry under my administration to do the same,” he said.

Betchani Tchereni, a lecturer in economics at the Malawi University of Business and Applied Sciences, commends the plan but says it falls short on practical ways for Malawi to increase its export base.

“We must know that as long as we continue to be an importing country, our inflation is not going to go down at all. The cost of living is going either rise or be where it is now. Why? Because we’re not producing our own commodities. And if you look at this plan, it is not meant to trigger manufacturing,” Tchereni said.

Despite a government promise to modernize and industrialize the economy, nearly 80% of Malawians are employed in agriculture, according to a recent World Bank report.

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…………

Highlighting :

The administration was immensely intervening to support the private sector players plying their trade in productive sectors with great potential, including commercial farming, ….

e.g. by promoting container gardening ?

Malawi Household Food Security Bulletin | Mobile Vulnerability Analysis and Mapping (mVAM) on the Effects of COVID-19 in Malawi Round 18: 8th October – 6th November 2021

https://reliefweb.int/report/malawi/malawi-household-food-security-bulletin-mobile-vulnerability-analysis-and-mapping-15

SUMMARY OF KEY FINDINGS

• The food security situation in Malawi has remained stable between April and November, with almost all interviewed households across the country classified as having acceptable to borderline food consumption as they continue to consume from the 2021 harvest.

• The proportion of households who are employing the most severe consumption-based coping strategies has remained quite low from April, indicating a largely stable food security situation.

• Physical access to markets has increased slightly, likely due to a decrease in new COVID-19 cases coupled with the fact that rural households are still selling their produce from the recent harvest.

A good advise : follow the good example of Harrizone Phiri (Ndola, Zambia) 

Add the beauty of potatoes, eggplants, ginger, garlic and veggies to your backyard garden/farm!

Get the guides and learn how to grow the following crops in bags, tins, pots/containers:

1. Potatoes-covers ( bag grower beginner’s guide, planting, management, disease and pests, harvest)

2. Tomatoes-(planting, management, disease and pests control with prescribed chemicals attached)

3. Eggplants-( pots/tin grower guide, planting, management and harvest)

4. Onion-( planting, management, disease and pests control, harvest, curing and storage)

5. Rape, spinaches and Lettuces-( backyard grower guide, planting, management, disease and pests control, harvest)

6.Ginger, garlic and turmeric-(bag grower guide, planting, management and harvest)

7.Green peppers-( planting, management and harvest)

Bottles, tins, buckets, pails, you name it … and we grow food in them ! Do you ?

Photos Elmar Cepe Huerta

Elementary Teacher at DepEd Division of Camarines Sur

Studied at University of Nueva Caceres

https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=4444040499045691&set=pcb.4444051222377952
https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=4444040962378978&set=pcb.4444051222377952

Wouldn’t this be something for Malawian schools ? We imagine that young girls would love to grow food this way and take that idea home to show their Mama’s. Come on Malawi, listen to this “progress call“.

Raised beds in Uttar Pradesh. Why not in Malawi to avoid poor food production ?

Photo Vikasendu Agarwal, https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=10208908174296986&set=pcb.5100526966658378

State Surveillance Officer, Department Of Health and Family Welfare at Government of Uttar Pradesh

Lives in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh

Coriander, Fenugreek, Spinach and Mustard – They grow really fast

Leaders of development projects; please send your aid goods to Malawi in bags. See why !

Photo of Mary Marie (Kenya) : https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=597341798159878&set=gm.1042913873212211

That’s the way Kenyans grow fresh food at home. Are they still undernourrished ? So, let’s help our Malawian friends the easiest and cheapest way to alleviate hunger and malnutrition. Hopefully the kids could learn this simple technique at school !

We like container gardening, but we do not have any containers …

Well, maybe you could copy the initiative of Linet Maobe, Nurse Practitioner at nairobi Hospital ?

https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=1609745629375272&set=pcb.1042804589889806

She is growing food crops in old tires, buckets, tins and other recycled containers. Difficult to find these in Malawi ? Ask your sponsors to send their aid goods in containers instead of cardboard boxes and plastic bags.

Container Gardening for Malawians

If your vegetable gardening is limited by insufficient space or an unsuitable area, consider raising fresh, nutritious, homegrown vegetables in containers. A window sill, a patio, a balcony or a doorstep will provide sufficient space for a productive mini-garden. Problems with soilborne diseases, nematodes or poor soil conditions can be easily overcome by switching to a container garden. Ready access to containers means that pest management is easier. Container vegetable gardening is a sure way to introduce children to the joys and rewards of vegetable gardening.

Vegetable Gardening in Containers Infographic

Vegetable Selection

Almost any vegetable that will grow in a typical backyard garden will also do well as a container-grown plant. Vegetables that are ideally suited for growing in containers include tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, green onions, beans, lettuce, squash, radishes and parsley. Pole beans and cucumbers also do well in this type of garden, but they do require considerably more space because of their vining growth habit.

Variety selection is extremely important. Most varieties that will do well when planted in a yard garden will also do well in containers. Some varieties of selected vegetables which are ideally suited for these mini-gardens are indicated below.

Suggested Container Grown Vegetables

*Name (Container Size, Number of Plants) – Varieties

  • Broccoli (2 gallons, 1 plant) – Packman, Bonanza, others
  • Carrot (1 gallon, 2-3 plants. Use pots 2 inch deeper than the carrot length) – Scarlet Nantes, Gold Nugget, Little Finger, Baby Spike, Thumbelina
  • Cucumber (1 gallon, 1 plant) – Burpless, Liberty, Early Pik, Crispy, Salty
  • Eggplant (5 gallons, 1 plant) – Florida Market, Black Beauty, Long Tom
  • Green Bean (2 gallons minimum, space plants 3 inches apart) – Topcrop, Greencrop, Contender, (Pole) Blue Lake, Kentucky Wonder
  • Green Onion (1gallon, 3-5 plants) – Beltsville Bunching, Crysal Wax, Evergreen Bunching
  • Leaf Lettuce (1 gallon, 2 plants) – Buttercrunch, Salad Bowl, Romaine, Dark Green Boston, Ruby, Bibb
  • Parsley (1gallon, 3 plants) – Evergreen, Moss Curled
  • Pepper (5 gallons, 1-2 plants) – Yolo Wonder, Keystone Resistant Giant, Canape, Red Cherry (Hot), Jalapeno
  • Radish (1 gallon, 3 plants) – Cherry Belle, Scarlet Globe, (White) Icicle
  • Spinach (1 gallon, 2 plants) – Any cultivar
  • Squash (5 gallons, 1 plant) – Dixie, Gold Neck, Early Prolific Straightneck, Zucco (Green), Diplomat, Senator
  • Tomato (5 gallons, 1 plant) – Patio, Pixie, Tiny Tim, Saladette, Toy Boy, Spring Giant, Tumbling Tom, Small Fry
  • Turnip (2 gallons, 2 plants) – Any cultivar

View more Easy Vegetables to Grow

Download Full Publication: Vegetable Gardening in Containers (Spanish)

This free, 7-page publication explains how to grow vegetables in containers when insufficient space or unsuitable soil conditions make a traditional garden difficult to achieve. Topics include container materials, crop selection, growing media, seeding and transplanting, fertilizing, watering, and harvesting, among others.

Good to know about the food problems in Malawi

https://reliefweb.int/report/malawi/malawi-covid-19-rapid-response-emergency-agriculture-surveillance-ema-fss-october-2021

Malawi: COVID-19 Rapid Response – Emergency Agriculture Surveillance (EmA-FSS) [October 2021 Highlights]

KEY HIGHLIGHTS

  • The proportion of households relying on purchase as the main source of food at the household level was 36.4 percent, which is 27.7 percentage points lower than the 64.1 percent reported in the same month of October last year but higher than the 34.0 percent reported in the previous month of September 2021. The southern region recorded the highest proportion of households relying on purchase at 50.8 percent, which is lower than the 71.2 percent reported during the same month last year due to improved maize harvest this year.
  • The proportion of households owning any livestock including poultry was 56.8 percent, which is similar to the 56.8 percent recorded same month last year and is lower than the 58.3 percent reported in the previous month of September 2021. The northern region continues to record the highest proportion of households owning livestock estimated at 80.3 percent, which is higher than the 74.3 percent reported same month last year but higher than the 77.8 percent reported in the previous month of September 2021. The proportion of households reporting some suspected livestock diseases was 20.4 percent, which is lower than the 23.7 percent recorded during the same month last year and is also lower than the 23.1 percent reported in the month of September 2021. The southern region recorded the highest proportion of households reporting some suspected livestock diseases estimated (23.2 percent slightly down from 23.9 percent reported same month last year).
  • The proportion of households involved in fishing related activities was 2.2 percent, which is lower than the 3.4 percent reported in same month last year but slightly higher than the 1.9 percent reported in the previous month of September 2021. The northern region recorded the highest proportion of households involved in fishing related activities estimated at 4.6 percent up from 3.7 percent recorded in the previous month of September 2021. In households involved in fishing activities, the proportion of households reporting suspected fish diseases was 13.2 percent, which is lower than the 23.7 percent recorded same month last year and is also lower than the 24.4 percent recorded in the previous month of September 2021. The northern region recorded the highest proportion of households reporting suspected fish diseases (25.0 percent down from 45.1 percent reported in the previous month of September 2021).
  • The average price of maize per kilogram in October 2021 was MK147.64, which is 21.4 percent lower than the MK187.78/ kg recorded during the same month last year. The average maize prices per kg is higher than the MK146.19 recorded in the previous month of September 2021. The southern region continued to record the highest maize prices per kg estimated (MK167.07 down from MK210.06 recorded in the month of October last year).

“Maize is life”: Malawi’s delayed Green Revolution

By MelindaSmale – International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center, Mexico

https://doi.org/10.1016/0305-750X(95)00013-3

Abstract

The pattern of maize seed development in Malawi demonstrates the importance of farmers’ capacity to articulate their interests through collective action and institutions. Despite the vital significance of maize as a wage good in Malawi, limited effective demand for maize seed research prolonged the period of technical stagnation. Analysis of the institutional factors shaping the demand for maize seed research complements previous work on Malawi’s political economy, the supply of seed technology and adoption, with implications for current political changes in that nation, the importance of farmers’ organizations, and state commitment to agricultural research in sub-Saharan Africa.

World Development

Volume 23, Issue 5, May 1995, Pages 819-831

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See also : https://malawidevelopment.wordpress.com/2021/11/17/malawi-president-advocates-agriculture-transformation/

and

Malawi President Advocates Agriculture Transformation

November 12, 2021


FILE - Subsistence farmers work their field of maize after late rains near the capital Lilongwe, Malawi, Feb. 1, 2016.
FILE – Subsistence farmers work their field of maize after late rains near the capital Lilongwe, Malawi, Feb. 1, 2016.

Malawi’s president, Lazarus Chakwera, has called on the country to transition from largely subsistence farming to industrialized commercial farming, in order to meet the goal of making the country food-sufficient by 2030.

Speaking as he opened the National Agriculture Fair in Blantyre, Chakwera said it is concerning that 80% of farmers in Malawi are small-scale farmers while the country has vast resources that could transform it into a commercial farming nation.

“It is in this sector that most of our jobs are being created,” he said. “It is from this sector that our growth domestic product, GDP, is receiving its greatest boost. It is in this sector that our exports and forex earnings are growing from. It is this sector whose success will give us the capacity to diversify our economy and make it more resilient and sustainable.”

FILE - Malawi's President Lazarus Chakwera speaks at the World Leaders' Summit of the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland, on November 1, 2021.
FILE – Malawi’s President Lazarus Chakwera speaks at the World Leaders’ Summit of the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland, on November 1, 2021.

The more the farmers engage in high value agriculture and add value to their products, the more they will see their profit margin rise, Chakwera said.

The president added that his emphasis on agriculture does not mean that he does not dream of Malawi also thriving from tourism, mining and telecommunication.

“It is just that at this stage of our national development, making our agriculture sector a success is foundational to diversifying our economy,” he said. “The next time you hear someone admiring America’s economy, tell them that the big part that keeps their economy strong and finances its diversification, is agriculture.”

The United States is the highest producer of corn, the second highest producer of soybeans and the fourth highest producer of wheat in the world, Chakwera said. Malawi is making efforts to transform its agriculture sector, he added, and that includes the government’s emphasis on moving from largely rain-fed agriculture to irrigation farming.

“As a case in point, in the 2021/2022 national budget, import duty on agriculture machinery was waived, precisely to make irrigation equipment more affordable and accessible. In fact, our entire economic policy framework is driven by our unapologetic desire to build an agriculture sector of the future,” he said.

However, farmers are skeptical about the president’s words.

Masauko Kabapha, who owns the Chimwemwe farm in Kasungu District in central Malawi, said commercialized farming in Malawi can only be possible if banks are more flexible with farmers.

Commercial farming in Malawi is impossible, he said, because farming equipment and machinery are too expensive for a small farmer, and getting a loan is difficult because banks ask for collateral, which most farmers cannot manage.

Kabapha suggested the government enact policies to restrain commercial banks from asking for collateral.

He also said that, although the government has waived duty charges on machinery for irrigation farming, most areas of Malawi still lack the necessary equipment. Most of the dams and water reservoirs that were built for that purpose are not functional and need rehabilitation, he added.

Just a simple question: What if the Malawians would apply container gardening to supplement their daily meals with fresh food ?

Malawi Key Message Update: Rural households still consuming food from own production following above-average harvests, September 2021

https://reliefweb.int/report/malawi/malawi-key-message-update-rural-households-still-consuming-food-own-production

Key Messages

  • Most rural households continue to consume food from their own production supplemented by market purchases, with Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes expected to persist across most of the country throughout the projection period. However, in the Lower Shire Livelihood Zone districts of Nsanje and Chikwawa in southern Malawi, very poor households are starting to face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes in the September/October 2021 period and are expected to face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes beginning in the November/December 2021 period. Localized production shortfalls impacted these areas due to dry spells in the 2020/21 rainfall season. Some poor households are also expected to face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) and Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes in other parts of the country during the lean period, though this will not be significant enough to change area-level classification.
  • According to international ensemble forecast models as of September 2021, average cumulative rainfall is most likely across the country in the coming rainy season from October 2021 to March 2022. The annual Southern Africa Regional Climate Outlook Forum (SARCOF) report released in early September 2021 is also projecting overall normal to above-normal rainfall across Malawi throughout the rainy season. While there is a typical risk of localized dry spells and periods of below-average rainfall in parts of northern and southern Malawi, overall rainfall performance for the season is expected to be favorable.
  • Prices for the maize staple continue to trend below prices recorded at the same time last year and below average levels. From July to August 2021, maize prices increased between 5 and 30 percent across most monitored markets, remained generally stable in Lilongwe, Lunzu, and Mangochi markets, and declined by 22 percent in Mzuzu market. The increase in prices is seasonal and a response to increased demand, especially from ADMARC which in August 2021 entered the market, purchasing maize at the government-set producer price of MWK 150/kg. Despite the increases in most markets, maize prices in August were trending at levels significantly lower than at the same time last year by between 10 and 35 percent and below five-year average levels by between 12 and 33 percent. In late September, the government announced that ADMARC will be selling maize at MWK 205/kg during the coming lean season.

A WORLD VISION MAGAZINE

Changing Lives Magazine, Issue 6 – July 2021

FormatAnalysis Source

 Posted11 Aug 2021 Originally published11 Aug 2021 OriginView original

Attachments

From the Officer in Charge

World Vision Malawi to seek out children in marginalised contexts, bringing to them life in all its fullness through many healthy and productive partnerships we have developed with the Malawi government and other stakeholders.

At the peak of the pandemic in Malawi, in December and January, as an organization, we kept our faith in God and did the best we could to ensure all communities we work in were supported in raising awareness of the pandemic. Most importantly, our advocacy partnerships ensured that we supported the Malawi government with advice on safe reopening of schools to enable children of the country attain life changing education.

Even in the midst of the pandemic, World Vision’s work in Malawi has continued to grow. In the second quarter of 2021, with your support, we were able to reach over 2.2 million children through our programs, advocacy and relief work. The growth, in part, was due to our sustained partnership with the Global Fund and the Malawi government in addressing the triple burden of Malaria, HIV and TB.

In the midst of all the pain and uncertainty,
I am glad to report that we safeguarded over two million people from Malaria, including 148,000 children and 40,000 pregnant and lactating mothers.
Similarly, during the same period, and thanks to the promising harvest, we saw steady involvement of families in Savings Groups, which demonstrates community’s trust in the model as a fall-back option in times of need.
As we continue, World Vision is committed to strategic change in our quest to be a more effective partner for the child and community in need. S we rework our strategy for the post 2021 year coming, we expect to steward our resources more efficiently, with greater benefits for children.

As we celebrate these gains, we know this would be impossible, without committed and capable partners, including the national and local Government of Malawi,
United Nations agencies, the Global Fund as well as local and international development partners. Transforming Malawi for the well-being of vulnerable children compels us to work together.

Finally, we are thankful to our faithful supporters, funding partners and sponsors.
The resources you entrust to World Vision enable us to do what we do. Without you, life in all its fullness for every child would remain a dream.

====================

For simple solutions to alleviate child malnutrition see :

https://www.facebook.com/groups/221343224576801/

and

https://www.facebook.com/groups/willem.vancotthem/

The 5 ways of WFP to help fight hunger you probably didn’t know existed (in 2018)

In landlocked Malawi, climate change and recurrent droughts are challenging people’s futures. The World Food Programme (WFP) is using creative ways to help build resilience.

18 July 2018, Badre Bahaji (https://www.wfp.org/stories/5-ways-help-fight-hunger-you-probably-didnt-know-existed)

And in 2021 you could add way number 6 : container gardening : https://www.facebook.com/groups/221343224576801/

and the multiple examples shown on this blog before.

Dear Malawian friends, don’t leave your children malnourrished : grow food crops in containers, just like the Kenyans and Ugandans do

A message from Periz Ndungu

https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=1032486854155232&set=gm.985839572252975

A message from Empress Carolisa Lewis – Nairobi, Kenya

https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=4835083693210535&set=pcb.985473125622953

A message from Kimale VictorJuja, Central, Kenya

https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=978872109564317&set=pcb.985829642253968

A message from Lyd Mo – Kampala, Uganda –

https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=4897497550278600&set=pcb.985857722251160

So many good examples of success for food security that Malawi could copy…..

Messages from Blessendy Honeyb (Mombasa, Kenya) and Pauline Bonareri (Nairobi, Kenya)

Blessendy Honeyb (Mombasa, Kenya) – https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=554352675841259&set=pcb.984980325672233
https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=554352649174595&set=pcb.984980325672233
https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=554352692507924&set=pcb.984980325672233
Pauline Bonareri – Nairobi, Kenya – https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=3635128166626134&set=gm.985224508981148

Why are Malawians not growing food crops in sacks or other containers ?

A message from Janeth Mining – Kitale –

https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=2113568108781368&set=pcb.984916249011974
https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=2113568148781364&set=pcb.984916249011974
https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=2113568075448038&set=pcb.984916249011974

Malawi: Chingondo irrigation scheme back to life after more than a year

https://reliefweb.int/report/malawi/malawi-chingondo-irrigation-scheme-back-life-after-more-year

After being idle for more than a year, farmers from the Ngabu Traditional Authority in Nsanje district are happy to be cultivating Chingondo Irrigation Scheme again. Differences in rentals between their irrigation agreement and surrounding irrigation arrangements resulted in dispute, which, through key stakeholder negotiations have now been resolved.

All hope seemed to be lost when a majority of the farmers at the scheme abandoned their plots due to disagreements with landowners over rent fees. Of the 58 farmers who secured plots in 2017, only 5 farmers were still cultivating at the scheme by 2019. The farmers were growing nutritious crops such as maize and sorghum which were essential for a local, nutritious diet.

The Chairperson of Chingondo Irrigation Scheme, John George, cited glaring differences in rentals between their irrigation agreement and surrounding irrigation arrangements as the main cause of dispute.

“We were paying three times more than other water-sharing cooperatives, which was unfair. That is why most farmers decided to stop farming at the scheme,” he said.

The irrigation scheme was established in 2016 by Goal Malawi to help farmers consistently grow their crops all year round and improve the quality and productivity, in spite of unpredictable weather conditions. The purpose was to ensure a more reliable and stable supply of food for the communities to combat hunger.

When Malawian Civil Society Alliance member, the Tiphedzane Community Support Organization (TICOSO), found out about the situation and heard that the scheme is not functional, they took initiative, investigated the problem, and strategised on what can be done to help make the scheme operational again. With support from the Scaling Up Nutrition Pooled Funds Window I Cycle II, the organisation facilitated interface meetings with the farmers and local leaders as well as the Department of Agriculture and irrigation to enhance the revamping of the irrigation scheme.

In July 2020, TICOSO organized two face-to-face meetings between chiefs, agricultural extension workers, the District Agriculture Development Officer (DADO), the Area Development Committee (ADC), landowners, and farmers to help resolve the conflict over irrigation rents and routine availability of extension services that would improve the operationalization of the scheme.

Since the negotiations, 56 new farmers have re-joined the scheme and are actively growing their crops using the revived irrigation agreement. The lead farmer at the scheme, Friday Wellos, explained the importance of the scheme in the people’s lives and thanked TICOSO for intervening:

“After the discussions we came to an agreement that each farmer will be paying 1,000 Malawian Kwacha (USD 1.23) a year to the landowners, just like our friends in the other schemes. We are grateful to Tiphedzane Community Support Organization for bringing us together so that we can discuss the way forward and get back to utilizing the scheme which plays a huge role in our lives. As you are aware, Nsanje is a district of extreme weather conditions which destroys our property and crops. With irrigation we are able to grow crops all year round. With this scheme we are hopeful that we will yield more, earn an income from our produce, provide nutritious food for our families, and fight hunger.

Since then, a new committee for the irrigation cooperative was elected and there has been improved coordination between the Area Development Committee, Village Development Committee, and the committee to ensure that the scheme is fully operational and benefiting the community.

Ngabu Area Development Committee Chairperson, Christopher Thom, added that TICOSO is also encouraging them to plant diversified crops to ensure increased productivity and nutritious food.

“With advice from TICOSO,” Christopher says, “we have diversified our crops and instead of only growing maize, we have also planted vegetables, beans, carrots and onions. All along we have been lacking proper guidance and expertise on how we can increase agricultural productivity on our lands in order to end hunger. But now that we are united and equipped with knowledge, we are able to consult Agriculture Extension Officers allocated to our area and be guided on how best we can utilize our lands to get more from it.”

Malawi, UN, Development Partners Launch Campaign to Eliminate All Forms of Malnutrition

By Lameck Masina – September 02, 2021 

https://www.voanews.com/africa/malawi-un-development-partners-launch-campaign-eliminate-all-forms-malnutrition

“……..about 1.5 million Malawians, about 8 percent of the population are currently food insecure.   “

Any campaign aiming at reducing malnutrition should incorporate container gardening as an efficient tool (Prof. Dr. W. Van Cotthem, Ghent University, Belgium)

BLANTYRE – A United Nations global report on nutrition says malnutrition is to blame for more than a third of Malawian children who have stunted growth and nearly a quarter of child deaths.  To combat the problem, the U.N. and Malawi’s President Lazarus Chakwera launched a campaign Thursday to promote child nutrition and health.  

The theme for the Scaling Up Nutrition 3.0 Campaign is “Unite to end all forms of malnutrition for sustainable human well-being and economic development.”   

Launching the campaign, Malawi President Lazarus Chakwera says Malawi’s high malnutrition rate is largely because most of its citizens are overly dependent on Nsima as the only food.     Nsima is a hard porridge cooked from maize flour and often is eaten with fish, meat and vegetables.    “The painful truth is that those among us, who say, ‘we haven’t really eaten until we have eaten Msima,’ need to rethink our beliefs about nutrition and take seriously the science of how too much Nsima consumption affects our bodies,” he said.  

Chakwera said the campaign has provided an opportunity for Malawi to re-engineer its society toward a more diversified diet.  “As a special challenge, I am calling on all of you to replace 10% of your Nsima consumption every year with other and more nutritious food. That kind of discipline and commitment will take all of us to make malnutrition history in our country,” he said.    

Dr. Alexander Kalimbira is the associate professor in nutrition at Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources.     He said besides the effect on a person’s health, the malnutrition also has resulted in low productivity in Malawi. 
  “Do we have evidence? And the answer is yes, we do have evidence,” he said. “Back in 2012, a study done in Africa; Cost of Hunger in Africa, what shows in the report is that the country, in one year alone. in 2012 lost $597 million U.S. dollars. Your Excellency, this represented at that time 10.3% of our gross domestic product. These are the consequences of malnutrition.”    

Chakwera said his government, however, is making efforts to address the problem.     He said this includes the allocation of budgets of local councils, placing malnutrition officers across the country, and providing specialized malnutrition services to all Malawians.    

Gerda Verburg is the United Nations assistant secretary-general and also coordinator for the Scaling Up Nutrition 3.0 Movement.    She hailed Malawi for steps it is taking to end malnutrition.    Verburg asked Chakwera, who also is the chairperson of the Southern Africa Community Development, or SADC, to take the campaign beyond Malawi. “Please bring these inspirational messages and this strategy also to all SADC countries because Malawi is really a frontrunner in the strong commitment and understanding that nutrition is the engine for change and for development,”  she said.  

Recent government statistics show about 1.5 million Malawians, about 8 percent of the population are currently food insecure.   

Sack gardening can be a solution for food security in drought affected countries

A message from Silas Wa Nkaa

A VERY SIMPLE WAY OF FARMING, NO WEEDING NEEDED

https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=125902453111191&set=gm.983610619142537

Rakel Mutinta Hamaamba : How long does the sack stay? When and how do you remove it? Do you plant while sack is still there?

Silas Wa Nkaa to Rakel Mutinta Hamaamba : It can last for 5-6 years, after you have done with crop, you just lift the sack upside, mix soil and manure, fill again and proceed planting whatever you are planning for.

Mauryn Gichimu : I would also like to know how do I start a vertical garden and what do I need to start.

Silas Wa Nkaa to Mauryn Gichimu : Just that sack, manure and soil. One gisack needs 20 litres of water per week to avoid soil hardening. Don’t water from the top, just its a matter of kupitisha maji na watering can or pipe. For the first week you can water morning and evening.

Krypto Kiki : What materials are used to set up the vertical platform?

Caleb Kayeli : Shadenet used to make such

No photo description available.

Silas Wa Nkaa to Caleb Kayeli : In fact it’s this thing that you have used, 3 wheelbarrows of manure, 5 of soil, then mix together and make sure the sack is straight and the soil inside is uniform to prevent bending to avoid falling down. It carries 120 seedlings, hii Iko na 21 days.

‘Everything is changing’: the struggle for food as Malawi’s Lake Chilwa shrinks

Will Malawians consider introducing general coontainer gardening ?

https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2021/aug/30/everything-is-changing-struggle-for-food-as-malawis-lake-chilwa-shrinks

The livelihoods of 1.5 million people are at risk as the lake’s occasional dry spells occur ever more frequently

 

There was a time when the vast Lake Chilwa almost disappeared. In 2012 it had been extremely hot in southern Malawi, with little rain to fill the rivers that ran into the lake.

“Many fishermen were forced to scramble for land near the lake banks, while others had to migrate to the city,” says Alfred Samuel. “We could barely feed our children because the lake could not provide enough fish, or water for rice growing.”

The 52-year-old from Zomba district has fished the lake since the 1980s and is used to fluctuating water levels. But the weather has become increasingly unpredictable, threatening the livelihoods of more than 1.5 million people across the three districts that depend on Malawi’s second-biggest lake.

When the missionary and explorer David Livingstone reached the lake in 1859, he reported it being 60 to 80 miles long, or roughly twice the length of today.

Friday Njaya, Malawi’s assistant director of fisheries, says that as water levels vary by season, the lake can cover more than 2,000 sq km (775 sq miles) during the rains. But recent years have seen it contract to less than 1,200 sq km.Advertisementhttps://74d856d1f24de3286fe411c45089b50a.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

In 2018 the lake shrank by about 60%, forcing most of those fishing on it to relocate to Lake Malawi to sustain themselves. There are fears that the trend could be repeated this year as the Lake Chilwa basin received less than 1,000mm of rain this season. The lake requires more than a metre of rain across the basin every year to sustain water levels.

The unreliable rainfall patterns are, according to experts, the result of human activity, especially deforestation, which plays such a critical role in environmental degradation and the climate crisis.

Njaya says that in terms of fishing, and cultivating rice and maize along its shores, the productive value of the lake should be about $17m (£12m) a year, but that has now fallen to about $5m.

Samuel, who has six children, fishes the lake and grows rice. Before 2012, he made 40,000 Malawian kwacha (£36) a day from fish sales and slightly more than 1.2m kwacha a year from rice. But now, fish sales bring in only 5,000 kwacha a day, while his rice fetches 570,000 kwacha a year.

(Continued)

Imagine all the people … growing food crops in containers, even in the cities !

A message from Musoga JoshuaJinja, Uganda

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If this is posible in Kenya, people in Malawi can do it too

A message from Miyanda Matamyo Shimwanka

Something I did while at school….. Thank God it really worked out

Could you try to create such a mini-garden at home ?

It would offer you a lot of chances to produce fresh vegetables and herbs !

A photo from Jackie Bennett:

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A message from Dovid Levine

Almost done building my barrel garden tower (7 rows of 5, 18mm pockets) and now I need to figure out what edibles to plant Any suggestions?Bonus points for perennial variaties.So far I’m thinking: Asparagus, chives, cherry tomatoes, strawberries, kale, cabbage, swiss chard, new Zealand spinach, thyme, rosemary, dill, parsley, with some marigolds from pest control. Anything here that shouldnt be in the same container?I’d love to grow some other fruits/berries besides strawberries, but from what I can tell they either all do best in their own pots or require much more acidic soil than the plants I’ve come up with…

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What others can do with simple means, you can do it too !

A message from Faith Ndung’uGEEP KENYA

My cabbages are also doing very well

https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=4533726036659632&set=gm.969665507203715
How to create a vertical garden – Photo Mary Kairu
My vertical garden – https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=4533598573339045&set=gm.969639190539680

A message from Charles Kariuki

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Government calls for more NGO engagement in agricultural sector

https://malawi24.com/2021/08/11/government-calls-for-more-ngo-engagement-in-agricultural-sector/

By George Banda

Government has urged Non Governmental Organizations- NGOs to implement interventions aimed at achieving sustainable growth in the Agricultural industry.

Director of Agricultural Extension Services Dr Jerome Nkhoma made the call at a farmer field school for extension workers in Zomba.

Nkhoma said: “As government we have all the standards, information and technologies to reach out to more farmers hence the need for Non Governmental Organizations- NGOs to fully engage it when implementing their programs.

“We encourage NGOs to enter into agreement with the Ministry of Agriculture so that we can deliver quality services to the communities” said Nkhoma.

He said through the farmer field schools, government is training extension workers on how to implement different technologies in the Agricultural Sector.

Currently, government is training extension workers under the Malawi Resilience and Disaster Risk Management Project (MRDRMP) designed to address both drought and flood emergencies.

Technical Team Member of the MRDRMP Enock Whayo described the 3 year project as a success of the Malawi Drought Resilience and Recovery project and the Malawi Flood Emergency program.

Imagine all people in Malawi taking care of malnutrition and hunger by growing food in containers

A message from Haki Grace

Started container gardening two months ago, a good source of vitamin and fresh veggies. Planning to add more with time.

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Well protected against droughts and floods

A message from Mariah Sonnie – Kenya –

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A Kenyan example, easy to follow in Malawi

A message from Janet MwimbiNairobi, Kenya

I made a seedbed for sukumawiki, “spinach” and Dania a month ago. Transplanted some today. I will get more containers to transplant the rest tomorrow or in the course of the week.Mulching to follow.. I will share more results at the end of this month.

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COMMENT

Beatrice Aliba

You can plant in sacks as well. I got used cement bags, washed them and bingo. My sack garden taking shape.

See what a raised bed can offer you : masses of fresh food !

A message from Ruthy D. Waldron

My 3×16 wood veggie planter. I amend the soil every 2 years. So far it’s been giving me good harvest.

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This is a splendid example from Mitundu, Lilongwe. What about the schools in Malawi ?

A message from Kondwani Tchauya :

I’m a founder and volunteer teacher of Hope Foundation School for orphans and since our school is needy and can’t afford to buy containers for gardening, me and my class engage ourselves in collecting used plastic bottles that are littered on the land and in lakes and alternatively use them as flower and vegetable planters while conserving the environment.

Does this sound like a great and cost effective idea?

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COMMENTS

Lorraine Cockrell :Absolutely precious! I applaud you.  Where are you situated as maybe we can assist you in recycling ways and old containers. Feel gree to messenger me. Keep going, so proud of you. You’re doing amazing work by teaching & practically showing the kids how it gets done? Keep going.

Evelyn Chico : Learning great ideas for the kids.

Catherine Hess Madden : Good job by all the little farmers.

Kristin Kjærvik : Dear Kondwani Tchauya  ; Awesome – love what you do 😊 All children should learn about planting 🌱🌱

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Bugs and critters in your region. Save your food crops.

A message from Bob RuchalskiSlidell, Louisiana

In an effort to keep the bugs and critters out of my garden I’ve come up with this. Double stacked milk crates on rolling casters, top one containing a grow bag, trellis poles and a mosquito netting drawstring bag to keep them out but let rain water, breezes in and help with summer Louisiana heat.

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Vegetables, herbs and banana peel water in containers

A message from Sandi Ezell Blackmer

Hello all. This is my basil and herb garden. I want to share a tip with everyone. I am feeding them with banana peel water. Take 2 banana peels and soak overnight in a gallon of water. Water your plants with the banana peel water. It’s full of potassium and more. You can use it on veggies, flowers, herbs. Does not need to be refrigerated. I keep a jug going all the time and keep adding water as I use it up. I also throw in peels as I eat them. The peels turn brown and you can discard them after you’ve added more peels. It’s a great organic fertilizer. This is good on veggies, herbs, flowers and tomatoes. I am using it on my green pepper too. My spearmint plant is huge as well and so is my dill is waist high. I have tons of green cherry tomatoes and beautiful green peppers.

https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=10223006655688305&set=gm.1233316403820030

Not so difficult to grow numerous onions

A message from Linet Maobe – Nairobi –

I decided to experiment growing green onions from the normal red onions, in soil and water.

Comments :

Judith Bwire – I had one onion; it started sprouting in the kitchen. So, I decided to plant it, which gave me about 6 or 7 other medium bulbs. Yes, it is possible.

Amenuvor Winnie – You can cut the half of it, place it on a bottle with water for a few days. You will see it sprouting, then you can transfer it into your container of sand.

Joseph Feh Boateng – Enthusiasm growing. Ministry of Food and Agric, please kick in and support. The 70s Operation Feed Yourself feeling is becoming a virus among urban dwellers.

Come on, Malawi, go for it !

Vegetables are growing splendidly in sacks and let people save money !

A message from Gecheo Auka Fredrick – West Florida –

It doesn’t pay but it Gives you #satisfaction and of course saves a few #cents.

Comment : Rose Njogu I know what you mean, the last time I bought any greens was last year April.

Onions and tomatoes – https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=4295761270516729&set=pcb.953378785499054
Young tomato plant – https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=4295761123850077&set=pcb.953378785499054

9 Vegetables You Can Grow (Almost) Anywhere

https://www.ecowatch.com/easy-vegetables-to-grow-2653767143.html

Linnea Harris – Jul. 13, 2021

It doesn’t take much room to grow your own food: a patio, porch, sidewalk, or even a sunny windowsill will do the trick. Container gardening, a practice adopted by many urban growers, provides you the pleasure of gardening with a fraction of the space.

Growing a few vegetables that you buy regularly – whether that be lettuce, tomatoes, peas, or even potatoes – may seem insignificant, but can save you money, cut down on single-use plastic, and lower the environmental impact of what’s on your plate.

Before getting started, address a few of the main considerations for container gardening: which type of container you’ll use, where the containers will be placed, whether you’ll grow from seeds or starters, and the type of soil you’ll use.

The optimal size and shape of a container will vary based on what’s growing inside, although the pot’s material is less variable. Terra-cotta pots are more attractive, and while they might be perfect for your houseplants, they don’t retain water as well as plastic planters, which are also much lighter and less expensive. Regardless, make sure whatever container you use has drainage holes in the bottom for excess water.

Before situating one of your potted plants, determine whether the appointed spot gets enough sunlight based on the plant’s specific needs. Check the spot every hour over the course of a day to see how many total hours of sunlight the plant will get.

Many garden supply stores sell starters – small plants that are ready to be transplanted directly into your container – or, you can grow your own from seed, learning the specifications for individual vegetables, including when they should be planted during the spring or fall growing seasons.

Lastly, fight the urge to use normal gardening soil in containers. Potting soil – some of which is designed specifically for container gardening – provides better aeration and prevents the plant’s roots from becoming waterlogged. Potting soil also helps retain moisture; unlike plants in the ground, container-bound vegetables can’t send out roots to find more water and nutrients. Along with watering the plants frequently – about once a day, in most cases – keep the pots well fertilized by adding compost.

While most vegetables can be grown in containers, a few are particularly well-suited for the task.

1. Leafy Greens

Container with tomatoe plants, pepper plants and lettuce in the urban garden

Westend61 / Getty Images

Greens thrive when grown in containers, which also prevent rabbits from helping themselves to your crops and common pests like nematodes from intruding.

Lettuce, kale, arugula, spinach, and Swiss chard all grow best in cooler weather. If temperatures will exceed 80ºF, consider using a moveable container so the leaves can be taken out of direct sunlight on hotter days. Remember that potted greens also require more water than those grown in the soil; for a lower-maintenance option that demands fewer resources (such as large pots and frequent watering), consider growing dwarf varieties.

Spinach will reach full harvest potential in only 40-45 days, while hardier leaves like kale will take a bit longer. Lettuce is quick to bolt, so harvest leaves when they are relatively young and new growth will take their place. Cut lettuce about half an inch from the soil to allow for regrowth, and harvest individual kale leaves from the stalk, pulling down to detach it without damaging the rest of the plant.

Greens will start slowing down in late June/early July when temperatures rise, but plant again in late September to harvest throughout the fall months. Kale and spinach – which grow especially well together – will continue producing throughout the winter in milder climates.

2. Peas

Snap peas, shelling peas, snow peas, and almost anything else from the Leguminosae family will grow well in containers. Most peas take somewhat long to mature – between 60 and 70 days – but require very little attention while growing.

Peas come in either bush or climbing varieties; use anything from fallen sticks to leftover PVC piping as a stake, leftover chicken wire, or a trellis (if space allows) for climbing peas to attach their vines to. Learn how tall your variety will grow before deciding on a staking method, although most varieties are climbing plants and will need support.

The roots of pea plants are relatively shallow, so a windowbox or trough will suffice and allow you to grow more plants. For taller and bushier varieties, use pots 8-12 inches in depth; shorter varieties need only 6 inches. Seeds or starters can be planted as close as 3 inches together.

Check for adequate pea development – and widening of the shell on more tubular varieties like snap peas – before harvesting. Snap peas mature faster (you don’t have to wait for the pod to fill), and are a quicker option for impatient growers.

3. Tomatoes

Various plants cultivated in balcony garden

Westend61 / Getty Images

Tomato plants growing in front-yard planters are a common sight; these flowering nightshade plants are a rewarding vegetable to grow in whatever space you have available.

Choose the tomato variety you’d like to plant, and find a spot that will receive at least 6 hours of sunlight. To keep the plants from competing for resources, grow each in a separate 5-gallon container with good drainage holes. Tomatoes do require frequent watering – as often as once or twice a day during the hot summer months when they’re more mature – and will draw on moisture for much of the day if given water in the morning.

Upside-down tomato buckets are another popular growing method for smaller tomato varieties, and can provide some decoration to a patio or back porch. After cutting a two-inch hole in the bottom of a five-gallon bucket and covering with fiberglass (slicing it like a pie above the hole so there are six triangular pieces that keep the plant in place), poke a tomato starter through the hole and fill up the bucket with potting soil. Water will drain through the hole when the bucket is hung, and the plant can be protected from getting waterlogged in the rain by putting the bucket lid on top.

4. Summer Squash

Similarly to peas, summer squashes come in either bush varieties or long vines. Either will grow in containers, but bush varieties remain more compact. Plant zucchini, yellow crookneck squash, or any of your other favorite varieties in individual pots at least 12 inches deep. Each plant can easily fill out a two-foot-wide pot; be sure not to crowd them.

In order to produce squash, the plants do need both male and female flowers, so the more flower-producing plants you can grow, the merrier, and the better your chances of a high squash yield (even several a week during peak growing months).

If you choose a vining squash, provide a stake to support the plant. Make sure the containers get plenty of sunlight (7 hours a day is optimal), and water when the top inch or so of soil is dry.

5. Green Onions

With their very shallow roots, green onions are a prime candidate for container growing. Plant seeds about half an inch deep, or, if using transplants, plant so the soil covers the white bulb of the onion. For greater assurance of a successful harvest, you can also plant onion sets: small onion bulbs for gardening, which become full onions in about three and a half months.

Leave 1-2 inches of space between the plants. Keep the onions well-watered (whenever the top inch of soil is dry), in a sunny location either indoors or outdoors, and harvest within 40 to 50 days.

When placed in a shallow jar of water, the bulbs will even grow back the green tops that have been cut off.

6. Peppers

Both in and out of containers, peppers – such as bell peppers, chili peppers, and jalapeños – are relatively easy to grow. Hailing from warmer climates, peppers all love sun and grow best in the summer months when the temperature is between 70 and 80ºF. Peppers also thrive in moist soil, and require daily watering (twice a day on very hot summer days). To give space for their roots to grow, plant peppers in pots at least 12 inches in diameter. The branches are prone to breakage once they’re heavy with fruit, so use some sort of support to hold the plants upright.

Bell peppers are ready to harvest in 2-3 months; harvest when green, or allow them to ripen further until they’re red, orange, or yellow. Chili peppers take slightly longer, and should be harvested once they reach their mature color. Jalapeños, chili peppers, and other small varieties benefit from pruning when they’re about 6-8 weeks old, which will allow for new growth and result in a bushier plant.

While pepper plants are self-pollinating, pollinators do help the plants set more fruit. If your plant is situated where bees can’t reach – such as a screen porch or high balcony – try self-pollinating your peppers.

7. Eggplant

Close-up of eggplant growing at yard

Cavan Images / Getty Images

For this large plant and member of the tomato family, choose a pot of at least 5 gallons and 12-14 inches in diameter. Eggplants prefer sandy loam soil; create your own by mixing two parts potting soil with one part sand. Keep the soil moist (but not soaked) by watering once a day or more, and perhaps topping with some type of mulch to retain the moisture. Since the vegetables are rather large, the plants will require trellising, unless you purchase varieties (either seeds or starters) labeled as “compact” or “for containers.”

Eggplants are very sensitive to cold – more so than tomatoes and peppers – and need temperatures around 68ºF or higher to germinate. Keep the containers in a sunny area and use darker-colored pots in cooler climates to retain heat. If temperatures dip at night, take the pots inside the house or another protected area.

Harvesting differs based on variety; research which type of eggplant works best for your space and preferences. Generally, however, the plant will reach maturity in about 2-3 months and the fruit will become glossy when mature.

8. Cucumbers

Like eggplants, cucumbers require large pots – ideally 5-gallon or more – which will hold more potting soil and thus retain moisture for longer, supporting their extensive root systems. When shopping for seeds or starters, look for compact varieties, or “parthenocarpic” cucumbers if you live in an urban area without many bees, as they will set fruit without pollination.

Cucumbers love to climb and will need trellising – such as tomato cages or a homemade trellis with string, wire, or wood – which also helps maximize your vertical space. They’ll also need 6-8 hours of full sunlight, and consistently moist soil.

Squash bugs and cucumber beetles are common pests on cucumber plants, but can be suppressed with neem oil.

Check the plant frequently for new fruit, which can go from tiny to enormous in a matter of days. Be sure to pick cucumbers before they grow too large and become seedy and bitter. Follow the harvesting instructions for each variety, and learn how large the fruit should get before being picked. Rather than pulling the cucumbers from the vine directly, snip them with scissors or clippers to encourage new growth and avoid damaging the stem.

9. Potatoes

Woman gathering potatoes from vegetable patch

Dougal Waters / DigitalVision / Getty Images

Even when buried in the ground, potatoes are often grown in bags for easier harvesting, making them a great candidate for container gardening.

Some potatoes can take up to 120 days to mature – including many grocery-store favorites – so look for seed potato varieties (small potatoes for growing new plants) that are disease-resistant and mature within three months. Generally, smaller, “new” potatoes will fare better than large russet varieties in containers.

Ideally, choose a 10-15 gallon container that’s 2-3 feet high; any opaque container will do, although some gardeners opt for special potato bags.

Space seed potatoes about one foot apart. Since the new potatoes will grow above the seed potato, plant them about 6 inches down to allow for growth. As the seed potato develops new rhizomes and tubers and the above-ground plant continues to grow, you’ll need to use additional soil to create mounds around the plant, giving it more room to grow underground. Begin this mounding process when the plant is about 6-8 inches high, covering all but the top leaves, then repeating once it’s again reached this height.

The potatoes are ready to harvest when the plant begins to flower (although new potatoes can be ready slightly before this). Dig through the soil for the potatoes, or dump the whole lot onto a tarp and remove them easily.

If you find raised beds too difficult, go for sack gardening

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Believe in raised beds to feed your family

A message from Kimberly Beck

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Conservationists in Malawi launch plan to rear 50,000 endangered Mulanje cycads

Cycads can grow at heights of up to 1,000 metres on Malawi’s Mount Mulanje. © Carl Bruessow

https://www.rfi.fr/en/africa/20210710-conservationists-in-malawi-launch-plan-to-rear-50-000-endangered-mulanje-cycads

Text by:Ryan Truscott

Conservationists in Malawi have launched an ambitious project to rear 50,000 endangered Mulanje cycads – palm-like trees with poisonous leaves that have been around since before the time of the dinosaurs.ADVERTISING

Due to their novelty factor, cycads are one of the most trafficked groups of plants on the planet.

But the Mulanje cycad is in peril mostly due to population expansion and habitat destruction, said Carl Bruessow, director of the independent Mulanje Mountain Conservation Trust, which is behind the project.

With funding from the Mahomed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund, the trust has started rearing seedlings, or “pups” of this “living fossil” to be planted at sites around Mount Mulanje, in southern Malawi.

A unique moth

Bruessow told RFI he had just delivered 10,000 seeds to a partner organisation in the area.

He said in addition to protecting the trees, which stand out against the landscape because of their thick trunks and spiny palm-like leaves, the project aims to ensure the long-term survival of two other species: a weevil responsible for the trees’ pollination, and the striking orange and black striped Mulanje tiger moth whose caterpillars feed exclusively on the cycads’ poisonous leaves.

This makes the moths toxic to predators like birds.

“It’s one conservation story, but it’s about protecting three species – all endemic,” he said.

Julian Bayliss, a biodiversity and protected areas specialist who works throughout Africa, has studied the relationship between the tiger moth and the cycad. He told RFI that both were living fossils.

“This day-flying moth can display in numbers and attract females to mate without being eaten by birds,” he said, noting that these competitive displays, normally seen only in birds or mammals, are unique to the Mulanje tiger moth.

Biodiversity hotspot

“To evolve its lifestyle to live on the cycad would have taken millions of years,” he added.

The moth, whose total population is thought to now number less than 2,000, is deemed critically-endangered.

Around 20,000 mature Mulanje cycads still grow in the wild in Malawi, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature. It lists the species as vulnerable to extinction due to its declining numbers.

“I think cycads are resilient, it’s human beings that have been messing around with them,” said Bruessow.

“I’d like to move it [the Mulanje cycad] right off the list.” He added that cultural perceptions of the tree in Malawi aid its conservation: having one growing in your garden is believed by many to provide protection from thieves and danger.

Mount Mulanje, with its towering mountain peaks and steep valleys and gorges, is famous for its plant biodiversity. At least 50 species that grow there are found nowhere else. A study published in March revealed two more species from the area that are new to science.

Huge cones

In the past, threats to the Mulanje cycad included the clearance of land to plant tea. Bruessow says the Mulanje cycad is now cultivated in gardens at a number of houses on tea estates. These are a valuable source of seeds, produced in their hundreds on huge orange cones.

The conservation group intends to strengthen existing stands of cycads around Mount Mulanje, including sites where the Mulanje tiger moth is known to breed.

“If we see a population of Mulanje cycads somewhere, we want to strengthen that and also enrich existing sites, and then join them up,” Bruessow said.

Once Covid-19 travel restrictions are lifted, the plan is to extend the project to a hill above the town of Milange, just across the border in  Mozambique, which is part of the cycads’ original range.

Just try raised beds for food security

A message from Favoured Anoruo – Nairobi

My garden is not in a container but a raised bed. The only things I have in a container are carrots which are growing very well. I have harvested several times and now preparing my garden for winter vegetables so that I have some winter harvest too. My aim is to have green vegetables all through the year, so my winter vegetables should be snow resistant to withstand until next spring when I start planting for summer harvest . Below are pictures of my small garden and my harvest so far .

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Banning malnutrition and hunger with containers

A message from Nelson Kefa – Bosongo –

Seedlings in a bottle – https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=861005707834476&set=pcb.948749782628621
Vegetables in sacks – https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=861005744501139&set=pcb.948749782628621
Spinach on a container, even in the sidewall – https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=861005651167815&set=pcb.948749782628621
Never hunger again – https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=861005764501137&set=pcb.948749782628621

Raised beds and sacks for growing food crops at home

A message from Marjorie Kiconco

Slice a tomato – sieve the seeds – wash and the dry the seeds on aplate (not a paper to avoid sticking) – plant the seeds in sacks or in raised beds

Tomatoes – https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=5948688165173827&set=pcb.947270916109841
Tomatoes – https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=5948688521840458&set=pcb.947270916109841

You do not need a big garden … only some containers

A message from Martha Akelo Opondo – Kisumu –

Strawberries – https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=10226555097129471&set=pcb.949649275872005
Coriander – https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=10226555098409503&set=pcb.949649275872005
Vegetables, herbs and fruits – https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=10226555098889515&set=pcb.949649275872005
Vegetables, herbs and fruits – https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=10226555100609558&set=pcb.949649275872005
Mint – https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=10226555103049619&set=pcb.949649275872005

Growing vegetables in containers is making these people happy. What about you ?

A message from Debs Dizon Talkington

My container vegetables starting to be ready in a few days! They make me Happy!

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Are Malawians afraid of growing food crops in containers ?

A message of Vivian Newsome GarnerJacksonville, Alabama

Growing my veggies in containers on my deck

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Grow your sweet potatoes and other food crops in sacks

A message from Noela TavaresMalindi, Kenya

I’ve planted my sweet potatoes in sacks…see how they grow!!

Sweer potatoes – https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=10227548436355465&set=pcb.944583276378605

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A message from Linda Jones

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A message from Kelly Njiru – Kampala –

I managed to transplant 50 sacks of tomatoes.

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A message from Flojie Mwangi

Chards – https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=4489855431047387&set=pcb.945142262989373

A complete kitchen garden in containers

A message from Viktória Emil Sz

Fresh and crispy. Potato is blooming, eggplant recovering. Interesting life with containers.

Potato – https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=10157767645612583&set=pcb.4619000608144352
Eggplant – https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=10157767642942583&set=pcb.4619000608144352
Lettuce – https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=10157767645502583&set=pcb.4619000608144352
Kale – https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=10157767645752583&set=pcb.4619000608144352
Lettuce – https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=10157767642812583&set=pcb.4619000608144352
Chard – https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=10157767642897583&set=pcb.4619000608144352

For Malawians liking tomatoes : grow them at home in containers

A message from Amrita SehdaveSan Jose, California

My tomatoes are growing fast

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A message from Rockin Robin

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This is certainly possible all over Malawi to alleviate malnutrition and hunger : food crops in container

A message from Homero SolanoLincolnton, North Carolina

Eggplant – https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=5751023241637211&set=pcb.4617019171675829
Okra – https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=5751023501637185&set=pcb.4617019171675829
Peppers – https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=5751024021637133&set=pcb.4617019171675829

Hoping our Malawian friends are able to make such a planting tower from a pipe

A message from Michael Biddle

I made this tower from pipe a 35L bucket and pump. 5 weeks in the tower and these bok choi are thriving

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The one who has a number of sacks can grow masses of food crops

A message from Afua Odeisi

Started in April 2021 and enjoying it. From Ghana.

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Malawi Food Security Outlook, June 2021 to January 2022

Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food security outcomes projected for most of the country

https://reliefweb.int/report/malawi/malawi-food-security-outlook-june-2021-january-2022

  • Most rural households are currently consuming food from their own production following the April to June harvests, supporting improved access to food. Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes are expected to persist in most rural areas throughout the outlook period. However, in the Lower Shire livelihood zone districts of Nsanje and Chikwawa where prolonged dry spells resulted in production shortfalls for many households, the emergence of Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes is expected around September/October with further deterioration to Crisis (IPC Phase 3) expected around November/December. In Malawi’s main cities, improvement from Stressed (IPC Phase 2) to Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes is expected around July 2021 alongside improvements in economic activity in the post-harvest period.
  • Staple maize prices have continued to decline alongside the progression of harvesting. In May 2021, maize prices were 17 to 35 percent below prices at the same time last year and 7 to 20 percent below the five-year average across monitored markets. Below-average prices are projected to persist through July and then seasonally increase—trending near average levels—through the rest of the projection period. In May 2021, retail prices of maize averaged MWK 134 per kilogram at the national level and were lower than the government-set minimum farm-gate price of MWK 150 per kilogram in most markets, though above-average maize production is generally expected to compensate farmers for the lower selling prices. Production and income from tobacco and cotton—the main cash crops—are expected to be below normal.
  • Since mid-June 2021, the number of new COVID-19 cases reported daily has been increasing. As of June 30, the seven-day moving average of new daily cases had increased to 129, up from under 15 from May 1 to June 14. While this is still significantly lower than during the peak of the second wave in early 2021 when the seven-day average of new daily cases approached 1,000, more contagious variants have been confirmed in Malawi and the government has closed borders to the entry of foreigners as of mid-June. Though not the most likely scenario, renewed internal control measures would likely result in reduced income-earning for many poor urban households.

Let us hope container gardening will become a tradition in Malawi

A message from Julia Johnson-mcgee

Sacks and containers. Because it gets so hot, i put the sacks into old kiddie swimming pools to hold a little water, otherwise they dry out in a couple hours. They have cracks or holes in them but that’s ok. If it rains, the plants won’t drown. The containers have blueberry, raspberry, boysenberry, and aronia berry bushes plus fig trees and an olive tree. One container has a tomato tree and marigolds. The sacks are mostly tomatoes and peppers.

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