Mathews Singini and Passing Agricultural Practices to The Next Generation

Mathews Singini lives with his wife, 7 children and 1 grandchild in Denthema village, Northern Malawi. Being a subsistence farmer, he grows maize, beans, yams and sweet potatoes for food and income to support him and his family.

Farmers in Nkhata Bay have often relied on unsustainable farming practices which need to be more resilient to increasingly unpredictable weather practices. The use of chemical fertilisers, similarly, has proved unsustainable following their huge increase in price last year. This project aimed to equip farmers with sustainable agricultural methods through Farmer Field Schools. 

In the Nkhata Bay North where Temwa works, 90% of families are subsistence farmers like Mathews and 58% of people live below the national poverty line. The families here depend on being able to grow food but are facing hardships due to the effects of climate change. Erratic rainfall, drought, flooding, strong winds and crop pests are affecting food production and exacerbating high vulnerability and poverty. These challenges have been worsened further by local deforestation, which erodes the soil, dries up water sources, and lowers agricultural productivity. 

Mathews came in contact with Temwa through an engagement with the Chigwere Village Development Committee (VDC) on the situation of food insecurity. A VDC is made of representatives from a village or group of villages. It is important in the planning system of a council because it is a structure closest to the citizens. The committee facilitates planning and development at the community level, working with organisations like Temwa. 

“I started working with Temwa after a meeting at VDC level on hunger situation analysis which was an eye opener to me and many other community members as we struggled to yield enough because of high price inputs, over-dependence on inorganic farming and sustainable agriculture. From the engagement in 2021, Temwa and Chigwere VDC agreed to conduct training on manure making and other sustainable agriculture. In our area, Njiri, we haven’t had that opportunity until the FFS project was introduced in our area.”

“Through Temwa, I have been able to train over 7 families in Bula where I own another farm, so this knowledge will continue to be passed on from generation to generation.”

“I am proud farmer field school member, something I will tell my grandchildren about.”

Read more about our latest Farmer Field School project in our latest report here.

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