The KULIMA Programme Holds its 8th Programme Technical Committee (PTC) Meeting in Salima

The Kutukula Ulimi M’Malawi (KULIMA) Programme held its 8th PTC at Blue Waters Lake Resort in Salima on 19th May 2022. The objective of this meeting was to review progress in implementation for the period January-April 2022. The meeting, which was chaired by the Director of Agricultural Research Services Dr. Wilkson Makumba, was attended by all PTC members from the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Trade and Industry, European Union Delegation in Malawi, NAO Support unit of the Ministry of Finance, LUANAR, FAO, GIZ and Self Help Africa (SHA). The PTC members reviewed progress through progress reports that were presented by KULIMA Implementing Partners which are the KULIMA Multi Annual Programme Estimate (MAPE), FAO, NGO Consortium led by SHA, GIZ GIAE, GIZ MIERA, the European Investment Bank (EIB) and NIRAS.

Prior to the meeting, the PTC members visited visited KULIMA implementation sites in Nkhotakota and Salima on 17th and 18th May 2022 respectively. In Nkhotakota, the team visited Chitsanzo Farmer Field School (FFS) under FAO which is  undertaking a study on effects of manure options on rice yield; Pasavute FFS under the NGO Consortium which has been conducting variety trial for banana, Village Savings and Loans (VSL) and pineapple production among other activities; and a cassava seed multiplier, Veronica Liwewe, under GIZ GIAE. In Salima, the team visited Mlato banana group under KULIMA MAPE; Mpanje FFS under FAO on livestock production (goats); and Chisomo FFS  under the NGO Consortium on land conservation management and nutrition. The picture below shows PTC members interacting with Chitsanzo FFS in Nkhotakota under FAO.

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Ted Msokwa ,48, married and with 8 children has been farming for many years. He has been growing maize, soybeans and groundnuts. He always admired his friends who had a motorcycle but he was not able to produce enough so that he could raise income to buy the assets he wanted.

“When KULIMA BETTER came I learnt about how to develop a household vision with my family. So we sat down as a family and wrote down what we wanted to a chieve in three years’ time: a plough, oxcart, and a motorcycle. Although I have not yet got these assets, I am confident that by 2025 I will buy a motorcycle”

“As a community-based facilitator I have learnt a lot on improved technologies which have led to harvesting double the amount I used to on the same land I was cultivating. Last farming season I got 32 bags of 50Kgs and sold part of it and bought 2 goats amounting to MK32,000,” said Mr Msokwa.

Msokwa is a community-based facilitator for Twinong’one Farmer Field School (FFS) in Mwamkumbwa EPA T/A Mwabulambya in Chitipa district. The group has 13 members (9 females, and 4 males) and was established in 2019. Twinong’one Farmer Field School is currently doing a study on the effects of soil nutrient management on crop growth.

In 2020 the group grew some vegetables which were provided by the project and realised MK27,000 which they used to purchase 1 piglet at MK15,000. They started doing a livestock pass on initiative and their target is that every member should have a pig. Currently the group has managed to pass on 6 pigs to 6 members while 1 pig was sold at MK40,000 in 2021 and used the cash to purchase soya beans seed which was cultivated on 0.4 ha. Apart from that, they also planted groundnuts on a 0.4 ha as an Income Generating Activity for the group.

The group has plans to share the seeds to members so that they can also grow at household level. The remainder will be sold by the group while some will be kept for planting in the next season on a larger scale for income generation.

“Our aim is to excel as a group as well as a household that is why we work hard and share knowledge for prosperity in all aspects of life. We will not be the same in a few years to come” said Mr Msokwa, the group leader.

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Collaborating for enhanced agricultural extension services for sustainable agricultural production and productivity

Under the European Union funded KULIMA programme, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has since 2018 worked collaboratively with the Government of Malawi on farmer field school implementation to enhance agricultural extension and advisory services with the aim of improving agricultural production and productivity. 


Agriculture in Malawi is characterized by low production and productivity. Smallholder farmers face multiple challenges, including the negative impacts of climate change- flooding, prolonged dry spells and droughts, unreliable rainfall patterns, and the emergence of pests and diseases such as the fall armyworm and banana bunchy top disease. Agricultural advisory services therefore offer critical support for smallholder farmers in the face of such challenges.


Farmer field school (FFS) is recognized by Government, in the National Agricultural Extension Service strategy, as one of the strengths of the agricultural extension and advisory services subsectors. This year on 4th and 11th March 2022, sixty-two (62) agricultural extension workers and ninety-two (92) lead farmers graduated as farmer field school (FFS) master trainers (MT) and Community-Based Facilitators (CBF) respectively, from the FFS master trainers (MT) course, under the KULIMA Programme.


“Farmer field schools are essential in promoting agricultural technologies and good agricultural practices in the face of many challenges facing the agricultural sector in Malawi,” said the Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Dalitso Wirima Kambauwa. She added that the Ministry of Agriculture promotes the use of FFS to build capacity of farmers to achieve household food, income and nutrition security.

 Speaking of the contribution of KULIMA to Malawi’s vision of a highly productive and commercialized agriculture sector, FAO Representative, Zhijun Chen said:

 “The aspirations in Pillar 1 of the Malawi 2063 on agricultural productivity and commercialization are possible, only if we have a vibrant extension service, which is responsive to the unique and location specific needs of the farming communities.”

 The recent graduates are part of a broader plan that targets training of 600 FFS Master Trainers and 8 000 Community Based Facilitators will be trained who in turn will support at least 13 400 community outreach groups with over 400 000 productive farming families to improve their productivity, diversification and income generation.

 To date, 371 MTs and 366 CBFs have been trained.  Furthermore, 18-month long CBF courses are ongoing at 249 sites in communities in the ten districts where the project is being implemented which are Chitipa, Karonga, Mzimba, Nkhatabay Nkhotakota, Salima, Kasungu, Chiradzulu, Thyolo and Mulanje. The CBF courses are being facilitated by graduates from the first, second and third cohort with an enrolment of 7 558 CBF lead farmers.

 FFS training courses are being conducted at Lisasadzi, Thuchila, and Mzuzu residential training centres in Kasungu, Mulanje, and Mzuzu districts.

 Attendance at the March graduation event included the Deputy Minister as guest of honour, the Head of Corporation of the EU Delegation in Malawi, Ivo Hoefkens, government officials, partners from the Consortium of International Agricultural Research Centers, members of the press and FAO.


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Ridwell Mwanja, 49, is a Community Based Facilitator (CBF) of Witimba Farmer Field School in Chitipa. Mwanja became CBF for Witimba Farmer Field School in 2018, but before that he has been a lead farmer since 2003. Before the KULIMA BETTER project started, Mwanja confesses that he used to do most of the things without consulting his wife because he regarded her as a housewife who is only supposed to do whatever he wanted to do.

“Little did I know that I was missing out more from my wife and we were not making much profit from farming. But after we were trained in gender, I started involving my wife in decision making. This has resulted in improved yields and income because we work as a team from decision to implementation. We are also transparent to one another in terms of the money we make.

“I let my wife decide how we are going to use the money. My children also take part in reminding us our goal and what we need to do,” says Mwanja

Figure 1 Ridwell Mwanja and his wife from T/A Mwabulambiya Chitipa

The household approach aims at empowering household members engaged in farming to have better gender or power relations that will enable them to   have equitable access to and control over resources, assets, and benefits in order to improve their livelihoods. The famer field schools are trained on some gender dynamics and developing a vision for their households which lasts for three years. The members of the household describe where they are now in terms of resources and assets and where they want to be.

In Karonga, Jenala Silungwe 40, testified how her husband who had joined another group had completely changed the way he used to treat her at home. Before the household approach, he would not engage her in having access and control over resources and he would also beat her after getting drunk.

“I thank KULIMA BETTER that we have not only gained knowledge and skills, but it has also changed our men’s thinking, says Silungwe.

Mc Donald Silungwe from Msomba 2 village in Traditional Authority Kilupula in Karonga says he has become a better husband after the training in gender.

“One of the valuable skills I shall treasure in my life is the household approach. I am coming from a culture that treats a woman as a slave because of the lobola system and that had an impact on my life. We are now planning together, and I have also given my wife the power to decide what crop to grow”.

Silungwe is also the centre of people’s attention because he helps his wife with the cooking, something that others look at as abnormal.

KULIMA BETTER is using the Gender Action Learning System (GALS) Approach system with the aim of ensuring that women participate in decision making and have access and control over productive resources.

A recent study conducted by the project in 2021 showed that 27 percent of women jointly make decisions with their husbands regarding crops grown for consumption and 26 percent of women make joint decisions on crops grown for sale. About 23 percent of women can express themselves freely to their husbands concerning household issues and 34 percent of women have opportunities to speak publicly.

The study also revealed that some cultural beliefs are wrongly interpreted ultimately affecting the level of women’s participation in various project activities at household and community level. For instance, lobola is misinterpreted as the act of buying a woman. Lobola, the provision of gifts to the parents of a bride, usually in the form of cash or livestock, is an entrenched part of marriage in parts of Central and Northern part of Malawi.

Through the GALS approach, the project is sensitizing households and communities on the benefits of engaging women in household decision making. Furthermore, the project is working closely with gender champions to ensure that there is joint decision making at both household and community levels.

KULIMA BETTER is funded by European Union and is being implemented by a consortium of Four NGOs namely: Self Help Africa as lead agency, Plan International, Evangelical Association of Malawi, ActionAid Malawi. The aim of the project is to promote sustainable agricultural growth, increase incomes, employment opportunities, food, and nutrition security in Malawi despite changing climatic conditions. The project is currently reaching 380,991 smallholder farmers

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By George Mbale

They say the future belongs to the organised, Fukafuka Farmer Field School is one of the schools that has demonstrated that they will continue to work even when the project phases out this year. Fukafuka was established in 2019 and is located in Kakhuni village in Group Village Headman Namapanje, T/A Mwenewenya in Chitipa district. The group has a membership of 17 (5 males and 12 females).

In October 2020 the group bought 2 piglets at MK10,000 each using the money that they realised from the study plots which was only MK20,000. Currently the group has 5 pigs from the 2 that they purchased since 1 sow gave birth to 5 piglets but 2 died but their plans are to pass on the piglets to group members until all have been reached.

“Fukafuka FFS thought of rearing of pigs as an Income Generating Activity which will also sustain the group activities even if the project phases out and on the other hand members are also encouraged to have IGAs at household level be it rearing of small stock and farming” says Loslina Mwandira, the Community Based Facilitator for the group.

The KULIMA BETTER Project is funded by the European Union (EU) and has been supporting the Farmer Field Schools since 2018. The project is phasing out in 2022 and it is hoped that the schools will continue operate on their own.

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Rehabilitation works for M’mbelwa RTC and Tissue Culture Laboratory at Lunyangwa take off

The KULIMA Programme Estimate will this year carry out rehabilitation of M’mbelwa RTC in Mzimba and tissue culture laboratory at Lunyangwa Agricultural Research Station in Mzuzu. To kick start the process, the KULIMA Programme Coordinating Unit (PCU) facilitated the handover ceremonies of the two sites to the Contractor who will be carrying out the rehabilitation works.

For M’belwa RTC, the site handover ceremony was held on 17th March 2022 where Tradition Authority Kampingo Sibande was the guest of honour representing  Inkosi Yamakosi Mbelwa V. Also in attendance were the Director of Agricultural Extension Services, Dr. Jerome Nkhoma who represented the PS for Agriculture; NAO Support Unit Programme Manager for Sustainable Agriculture, Dr. Chisomo Kumbuyo; and the KULIMA Programme Coordinator, Mrs. Agnes Nkhoma. At the ceremony, both Inkosi Kampingo Sibande and Dr. Jerome Nkhoma applauded the KULIMA Programme Estimate for the planned rehabilitation works which once completed will allow the facility to be used for various activities it was intended for which include training of extension workers as well as other government staff. They advised the Contractor to carryout the rehabilitation works to the expected standards. The Contractor was also advised to employ people around the area for some of the works.

The site handover ceremony for the rehabilitation works of the tissue culture laboratory at Lunyangwa was held on 18th March 2022 and the cremony was presided over by  the Director of Agricultural Research Services, Dr. Wilkson Makumba  who represented  the PS for Agriculture. Also in attendance were  the NAO Support Unit Programme Manager for Sustainable Agriculture, Dr. Chisomo Kumbuyo; and the KULIMA Programme Coordinator, Mrs. Agnes Nkhoma. It is expected that once completed, the rehabilitation of the tissue laboratory will greatly improve multiplication of clean banana planting materials under tissue culture thereby benefitting more smallholder farmers.

The rehabilitation  works for both M’mbelwa RTC and  the tissue culture laboratory at Lunyangwa will be conducted by Ground Force Construction as the Contractor but under the supervision of Form D Graphics. These are local firms and the rehabilitation works are expected to be implemented for a period of 6 months.

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European Investment Bank (EIB) and First Capital Bank partner to provide EUR 12. 5 million investment boost for smallholder farmers and agricultural companies and cooperative across Malawi with European Union (EU) support

The European Investment Bank (EIB) has partnered with First Capital Bank (FCB) to provide an investment boost to smallholder farmers, agricultural companies and cooperatives across Malawi. The partnership will see the financial institutions, with support from the European Union (EU), pumping about €12.5 million (at least K11.2 billion) into the local agriculture sector. First Capital Bank joins ECOBANK Malawi, and together the two leading local institutions will provide a total of €50 million of new financing for agricultural investment. Agriculture value chain companies across Malawi will be able to access loans with maturities of up to 7 years, longer than commonly available in the market to expand, upgrade and modernize their equipment, and unlock new business opportunities. This financing initiative has been launched to address specific challenges holding back agricultural investment and is part of the broader “KULIMA – promoting farming in Malawi” Programme with funding from the European Union. For further details please refer to the links below:

European Investment Bank (EIB) and First Capital Bank partner to provide EUR 12. 5 million investment boost for smallholder farmers and agricultural companies and cooperative across Malawi backed by European Union (EU) support – African Business

EIB, FCB partner to boost agriculture – The Times Group Malawi



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By Moses Pacharo Kachale

Below is the fourteenth episode of the KULIMA TV Programme aired during the week beginning 17th January 2022 on MBC TV, Zodiak TV and Times TV. The programme documents implementation of Farmer Field Schools (FFS) under the KULIMA Programe. In the programme, farmers explain the importance of farmer field schools in the implementation of agricultural activities. The FFSs conduct various studies on agricultural enterprises and in this programme, farmers explain how the studies are done. The TV programmes are being facilitated by the KULIMA Programme Coordinating Unit (PCU) through the Department of Agricultural Extension Services (DAES) in the Ministry of Agriculture. Airing of the second phase of the TV programmes commenced on 10th January 2022 and will run up to 30th June 2022. This is part of Communications and Visibility activities under the KULIMA Programme.


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By Moses Pacharo Kachale

The KULIMA Programme Coordinating Unit (PCU) through the Department of Agricultural Extension Services (DAES) in the Ministry of Agriculture is implementing the second phase of airing of KULIMA TV Programmes on National Television Stations. This is a continuation from the first phase where a total of 12 TV Programmes on the implementation of KULIMA activities were aired on Zodiak TV, Times TV and MBC TV. The second phase commenced on 10th January 2022 and will run up to 30th June 2022. Below is the 13th episode of the  TV Programmes that was aired last week on the three TV stations. The programme documents implementation of banana activities in Karonga and Nkhata Bay  Districts. In the programme, farmers in the two districts explain the benefits acrued so far through the implementation of banana activities. The farmers also explain how they are able to manage the Banana Bunchy Top Virus (BBTV) and future plans.


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The Department of Agriculture Extension Services (DAES) has started collecting content for airing of the second phase of TV Programmes on the implementation of KULIMA Programme in all the 10 KULIMA implementing districts. The programmes showcase progress on implementation of various KULIMA activities for all the KULIMA Implementing partners.  Airing of the TV programmes commenced on Monday 10th January 2022 and will run up to 30th June 2022. The TV Programmes are being aired on Times TV, Zodiak TV and MBC TV. This is part of communications and visibility activities for the KULIMA Programme. Below is the schedule of the TV Programmes for each week:

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