Bringing Communities Together with Farming and Enterprise
Farmer Associations and Community Enterprises (FACEs) are a core part of Temwa’s agriculture and forestry programme. These groups are made up of 10-15 community members who come together to earn and learn together, making life-changing improvements to their families’ livelihoods. As a group, the farmers choose a specific livelihood or agrobusiness that they want to engage in – and by training and planning together, bulking produce and doing joint product development and marketing, they can get a better price for their product. And the idea is that part of their profits from their farming is always reinvested in expanding their operations.Working together as a group increases food and income security of participating families, but the benefits of these groups go beyond this: the groups focused on crops adopt sustainable farming methods, so they become more resilient to extreme weather events like drought. Groups owning livestock can have more varied diets and produce sustainable manure for their fields, while they also have a valuable asset that helps them cope better in times of crises. The community enterprises boost the local economy through new local businesses such as community bakeries. Thanks to the entrepreneurship of the FACEs, the wider communities are inspired by their successes, which leads to the emergence of new groups who want to transform their own lives. 2020 Achievements
In 2020, Temwa worked with 15 of these groups across Nkhata Bay North which specialised in baking, beekeeping, and the production of crops and livestock. Each group has received some training and support based on the group’s specific needs, for example in agricultural techniques, business management, leadership and product marketing. They have also been provided with necessary materials such as seeds, beehives, small livestock and tools that they could not source independently. Local governance structures and chiefs are engaged in all activities and have generously allocated land for some groups for communal cultivation and learning.
In addition to direct training to the farmer groups, Temwa’s Usisya Demonstration Garden, a local centre for learning, promotes broader community adoption of more effective, sustainable farming techniques. The garden has also started generating some income from the sale of organic vegetables, which is then invested back into operations.
Increasing resilience to crises
Many families in Nkhata Bay North depend on small-scale businesses or hand-to-mouth ‘piece work’ for income. With local markets closing due to Covid-19 restrictions, the last year has been very difficult for the communities and many have struggled to make a living and feed their families. Here the wider impacts of Covid-19 have been at least as severe as the virus itself.
Temwa’s livelihood support to Farmer Associations and Community Enterprises has helped communities to cope with the challenges caused by COVID-19. The support and training allowed four groups to sell their produce in Mzuzu, the nearest big city, which helps them to increase their income. The 15 groups supported last year are helping communities gain income from a variety of different sources, which has helped 180 member farmers become more resilient to economic and climatic shocks. It has also helped ensure that 1,080 people in the benefiting families will have enough to eat.Support these FACEs by becoming a monthly donor today.