Lilongwe — Farmers in Dowa District have said they are enjoying huge profits with their crops following the coming in of a project called Market-oriented Smallholder Horticulture Empowerment and Promotion (MA-SHEP) which is being implemented in the district by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) under the Embassy of Japan.
Mndila Irrigation Scheme Chairperson who is working under the project in the district, Akimu Mangeni said in an interview with Malawi News Agency (Mana) on Wednesday during a media tour that, through MA-SHEP Project farmers have been empowered with skills of identifying markets for their crops.
"With MA-SHEP Project, we have been trained to understand marketing of our farm products and we are now able to identify markets where we sale our harvest at a better price," he said.
Mangeni added that, through the project famers have been trained to plant crops which have high demand on a market, saying that before coming in of the project famers were facing challenges to sale their crops because it was not marketable, hence he said this was attracting low profits.
The Chairperson said that before the project farmers were cultivating on a big area of land, however they were producing low yields.
"Before the project we were planting our crops on a big area but we were harvesting less and low quality products.
With the coming of MA-SHEP Project we are doing our farming on a small piece of land but we are able to harvest more and outstanding quality products which attract more customers," he said.
Asked on how his life status has changed with farming through MA-SHEP project, Mangeni said that he has managed to buy livestock which include goats and also, he has managed to build a modern house, and he said his family is living a better life.
MA-SHEP Project Manager who is also Assistant Chief Agribusiness officer under the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, Pearson Soko said that MA-SHEP aims at building the capacity of agricultural extension officers and empowering horticultural smallholder famers.
Japanese Ambassador to Malawi, Kae Yanagisawa said that the Government of Japan is committed in promoting the development of the country in different sectors including agricultural sector, in a quest to make local Malawians to be self-reliant.
In Dowa District, 200 famers have benefited with MA-SHEP Project and the project which is being implemented in other districts including; Kasungu, Ntchisi, Salima, Chitipa and Mzimba.