Students under the faculty of permaculture and rural and community development at Share World Open University recently visited United Methodist Permaculture Demonstration at Madisi in Dowa to appreciate two large-scale permaculture sites.
These are among a few outstanding permaculture demonstrations that showcase all the permaculture ethics and principles in practice through a variety of trees and vegetables planted at the site.
The trip was organised by lecturer Luwayo Bisiwick who said it is important that students learn with practical experience.
“They need to have an idea of what happens in the field so that they can understand what they learn in class,” said Bisiwick.
He explained that the field visit was also aimed at helping the students understand how permaculture principles are applied and practised in a way that is ecologically sound, financially viable and socially just.
According to him, malnutrition is still a big challenge in Malawi despite the country’s good climate.
“In Malawi, nearly 60 percent of the population experiences year-round food insecurity, nearly 13 percent of children under the age of five are underweight, while 47 percent of them are developmentally stunted.
“With these high rates of malnutrition in rural areas, both rural and urban farmers depend heavily, if not solely, on corn for income. This makes them vulnerable to fluctuating markets and environmental factors. Economic dependence on expensive inputs keeps farmers in a perpetual cycle of debt,” he explained.
Former vice-chancellor of the University of Malawi Professor Zimani Kadzamira said he hopes this group of students is going to create a great platform for permaculture in Malawi.
“We are also training these students on how they can start their own gardens for permaculture especially looking at trees which would bring some food to the land at the same time selling them as one way of getting money while the same trees also save the purpose of protecting the environment,” said Kadzamira.