Agnes Michael Alimoyo is 50 years old, single mother of 7 children she comes from Traditional Authority Mkanda in Mulanje. She wakes up very early in the morning to water her vegetables in the garden before she has breakfast. Ever since her husband died in 2018, life has been difficult as she had to provide for her children alone. She used to rely on piece works to get some money to buy food.

When KULIMA BETTER project introduced the farmer field school approach, she joined in 2018 because she wanted to change her story. At Tipindule FFS, I learnt about one-to-one planting, and I saw that on the same piece of land I was harvesting 10 bags, I started harvesting 25 bags in the year 2019.

“One thing I always admired to have, was a treadle pump so that I could be growing three times a year. I started planting tomato last year and bought a second- hand treadle pump at K35,000,” says Agnes.

Food Availability and improved diet

Agnes boasts of never buying maize anymore because she always has enough maize throughout the year. “At first my family used to skip breakfast and instead ate twice a day because we could not afford breakfast.”

Agnes says this is history because she has grown cassava, sweet potatoes and she has fruit trees such as orange, lemons, guavas, avocado pears, and mangoes in her house compound. I also have 8 chickens, pigeons. She also has orange, alvocado pears and guava fruit trees around her household.

Value addition

Agnes grows cassava for food and income, she dries the cassava strips which is sold to people. People use them to make flour and snacks called ‘Zikhele’ fried cassava strips.

Improved income

I have graduated from growing maize for food, I also sell some and my income has risen from 1,000 per day to around 10,000 per day.

Agnes Michael Alimoyo, Tipindule FFS Member in Mulanje showing how she is diversifying farming by growing cassava