Mzimba garlic farmers are expected to make K13 million (about $44 000) this year through a Japanese community empowerment project.
The Japan Overseas Association (Joca) Malawi Project for Farmersâ€™ Self-Reliance Towards Community Empowerment, being implemented in Kandomo-Banda Village in Mzimba, targeted 31 villages with 586 households as primary beneficiaries.
Joca project manager Katsusuke Niwa said garlic is a significant cash crop with its income estimated at 66.5 percent of the total income from sales of all produce.
â€œIn 2006, we provided 6.32 kilogrammes of garlic seeds to nine groups in the area. Since then, garlic production has expanded to groups and individual farmers within as well as outside the project area. This yearâ€™s production is estimated at 20 tonnes which is K13 million in sales,â€ said Katsusuke.
He also said the difference in average income between targeted and non-targeted farmers of the project is K57 700 (about $192), meaning that targeted farmers are earning 3.5 times more income from garlic sales than the non-targeted ones.
Minister of Agriculture Professor Peter Mwanza, who officially received the project from Joca, commended the Japanese for introducing a new cash crop into the agriculture sector and promised to replicate the project to other parts of the country.
Joca is a pioneer project in Mzimba which uses farmersâ€™ own initiative to introduce appropriate farming methods that make use of locally available resources to improve their livelihood.