Smallholder farmers in Malawi have perpetually low-crop yields due to limited access to and availability of quality agricultural inputs and improved agronomic techniques. As a result, most farmers are food insecure and lack a dependable source of income. Our Anchor Farm Project in Malawi partners with 28,000 farmers, who we provide with quality inputs, training, and market access. Through the Anchor Farm Project, we encourage farmers to grow soya beans as a lucrative source of income and a nutritious food source. Through negotiated contracts with local commercial buyers, farmers have been able to sell their soya produce at a pre-arranged price, increasing their income in the process. We recently talked with four farmers about growing soya with the Anchor Farm Project and how it has benefitted their lives, and will share these farmers’ stories over the next month on our blog.
Ivy Kafa is a single mother from Chikuta Village in the Mchinji District and has been a farmer with the Anchor Farm Project since 2012. In 1992, Ivy’s husband passed away, leaving her with four children to take care of and no source of income. After years of struggling, Ivy learned of the Anchor Farm Project through CDI community outreach in her area and decided to join in 2012. Before joining the Anchor Farm Project, Ivy was able to harvest nine 50-kilogram bags of soya from one hectare of land. After applying the improved methods of soya agronomy that she learned from her CDI field officer, she was able to harvest 27 bags of soya that were 50-kilograms bags – this helped her earn more than $660. She used part of her earnings to send her son to a driving school and get him a passport. She also purchased two goats, improved maize and soya seeds and inputs, six bags of fertilizer for her maize field, a new mattress and blankets, two chickens, and still had enough left over to pay her farm workers and everyday household necessities. Ivy says, “CDI has transformed my life. I have thirty hectares of land, but before joining the Anchor Farm project, I could only use one hectare. Now I am able to cultivate more than four hectares of my land. I have grown three hectares of soya this year without taking a loan from any institution. I used the money that I saved from last season to buy the farm inputs I needed, and I expect to make more money this year after my soya sells. This year I’m planning to use my money to buy manure and start a pig farm. Personally, I’d like to expand my soya production to six hectares in the coming seasons. ” Ivy also said that with the training that she received, she is now able to increase her crop yields per hectare.