By George Mbale, Self Help Africa

Andrew Kabaghe lives in Mwakwenda Village in GVH Maliko TA Mwabulambia in Chitipa. He is 41 years old and has 4 children (2 girls and 2 boys) all in primary school. Chitipa is one of the 10 districts in which the KULIMA BETTER project is implementing its activities.

Kabaghe is a member of Fwasa Farmer Field School under the KULIMA BETTER Project implemented by Self Help Africa with financial support from European Union and other partners which include Malawi Government, GIZ and FAO.

Kabaghe is a community-based facilitator who has 2 groups; one formed in 2018 and another formed in 2020.In 2019, Andrew was selected to participate a vine multiplication training organised by one of the partners in KULIMA program, International Potato Center (CIP). The aim of the training was to equip farmers on how to rapidly multiply orange fleshed sweet potato vines which are fortified with vitamin A. After the training, Andrew was provided with vines for multiplication. He multiplied the vines on one acre. Later in 2020, GIZ approached him if he could supply OFSP vines. Due to knowledge gained and capacity, he supplied vines worth MK300,000 to GIZ.

“Using the revenue, I bought a cow, plasma screen television set and decoder”.

Apart from GIZ, he also has sold vines to farmers in Mwakwenda for over MK450,000 and tubers worth MK150,000.

“Of course, I have been heavily impacted by Covid 19 pandemic this year. Due to Covid, demand has greatly reduced this year. This is because institutions that purchase vines halted operations due to the pandemic.”

Kabaghe and his group were also  conducting Fall Army Worm management studies. They have identified a local tuber as the best solution to control of Fall Army Worm. The tuber is readily available in the area and is very cheap and easy to process into a concoction.

“Synthetic chemicals are expensive and are also not easily found. Using local knowledge, we are pretty sure that we will manage the pest and ensure that our households are food secure,” Andrew concluded.