Esther Manong’a, from Chalamanda Village Traditional Authority (T/A) Mpunga in Chiradzulu, is no ordinary farmer.
While some farmers are finding it tough to make manure for their farms and trying even harder to come up with techniques that would enable them harvest enough maize to carry them to the next harvest season, the story is different with her.
The lady—who is a lead farmer in her village and beyond as she educates them on best farming practices and how to make effective manure—says even her grandchildren are enjoying from the fruits she is reaping.
Explaining her story and how her life has been transformed, Manong’a says she owes her success to hard work, but, most importantly, to God who gives her strength every single day.
She says she is thankful to humanitarian organisation World Vision Malawi (WVM) for going to her area with its projects. She adds that through the project, she has helped her gain manure making techniques and best farming practices.
“My family used to be a hungry one in the past. We could only afford to harvest one bag of maize from our little piece of land as I was not following best farming practices and I was not able to make composite manure to increase my yields.
“Ever since 2008 when World Vision developed my capacity, taught me how it is wrong to have 90 centimetre spacing between two rows in my maize field and how best to make effective manure, my life has changed tremendously.
“I am no longer the hungry person I used to be. The same little land that was giving my family only a bag in the past is today giving us 16 bags which are enough to last us up to the next harvesting period,” says Manon’ga.
She says even in 2015 when most farmers were lamenting about the low maize yields due to the floods that occurred in January as well as the dry spell that followed in March; she managed to harvest 16 bags of maize.
Apart from making sure her household has enough and that she is going around her community teaching her friends about best farming practices and how to make effective manure, Manong’a is also into dairy farming.
Dairy farming helps her earn money to run her household as well as help her grandchildren buy school accessories such as uniforms and writing materials, she says.
When she starts to talk about her cows, one will be astonished to learn that they even have names, the kind of names that tells a story.
Manong’a is a beneficiary of WVM’s projects in Mikolongwe Area Development (ADP) Programme which started being implemented in 1998 and was phased out last year.
Mikolongwe ADP programme manager Agness Kamanga said about 80 percent of the projects that were being implemented in the area have achieved their objectives.
“World Vision Malawi started Mikolongwe ADP with support from World Vision New Zealand in 1998. By then, the community was poor and far much behind, worse than even some national indicators today” she said.
The projects, being implemented in areas of education, food security, health and nutrition, child sponsorship, were aimed at improving the quality of life for 45 000 people of Mikolongwe community by 2013.
The woman farmer was picked in 2008 in the humanitarian organisation’s implementation of improved food security of households by way of introduction of lead farmers and continued investment in capacity building of the community in the use of manure.