African Institute of Corporate Citizenship (Aicc) has embarked on a four-year programme to improve livelihoods, food and nutrition security for 180 000 households nationwide.
Aicc head of programmes Driana Lwanda said on Thursday that the programme will target smallholder farmers in organised groups, including women who constitute 60 percent of the beneficiaries.
She said the transformation programme will target five districts, namely Mchinji, Dowa, Kasungu, Mzimba and Rumphi.
Lwanda said they targeted those districts due to their vulnerability, existing farming structures and value chains of crops such as legumes, maize, spices and vegetables, among others.
“Vegetables have been identified because of their high nutritive value and potential to continuously generate income throughout the year,” she said.
Lwanda said Aicc will strengthen local food systems in selected extension planning areas (EPAs) in those targeted districts.
She said the programme will complement government’s efforts to transform the agriculture sector by aligning interventions to the National Agriculture Investment Plan.
“Through the programme, we will increase resilience to climate change, diversifying agriculture production, developing new value chains and closing the gender gap in agriculture and contribute to the transformation of the agriculture sector,” said Lwanda.
Mndolera EPA extension planning pfficer for Dowa Robert Kachedzula said the majority of the poor people are farmers.
He said: “This calls for an integrated approach to food security, poverty and economic development.
“The environmental effect will be strong since more food will be produced with less land and water resources.”
On her part, Gladys Majoni, who is Kachuwa Club chairperson in Dowa, said: “Aicc provided us with drip irrigation equipment and fertiliser that enabled us to increase our productivity, consumption of nutritious and diverse food, including improved profitable market access and entrepreneurship.”
Royal Norwegian Embassy provided K776 million for the programme up to June 2021.