How farmers in Malawi are battling a changing climate
A village nursery and new farming techniques are changing lives in small communities
“This is my victory garden where I grow beans, cassava, sweet potatoes and greens,” explains Donista Bakali. “My family and I eat from this garden and also it has become a business because what we do not need is sold at the local market up the road.”
Driving down the hills to the lowland district of Nsanje, one is welcomed by the beautiful scenery of the meandering Shire River, however, people of Fatch Village in the district, like 58-year-old Donista, have been struggling to grow food to feed their families because of persistent drought and very high temperatures rising as high as 45 degrees Celsius (113 Fahrenheit).
“Previously my children were hungry, and I did not have the money to buy vegetables to keep them healthy either,” says Donista. “We live in a very dry area and growing food became more and more challenging with this changing climate, making life unbearable.”
To lessen the impact of climate change in the area, WFP is working with communities and households in the district to plant fruit trees and create veggie gardens mulching them with lots of grass and composite manure to conserve moisture. Moisture makes crops green throughout the year, turning them into an infinite source of food. Therefore, they have been called “Victory Gardens” by the community.
Moses Mpinga tends to the village nursery where the community is welcome to collect trees and plants and at the same time learn how to enhance their new farming techniques successfully.
“In the past, my grandparents were growing crops with ease on the very same land I’m cultivating but now I need to switch to drought resistant crops like cassava,” says Moses.
Moses and his family eat from his garden however recently also started selling his surplus food at the local market making 5,000 Malawi Kwacha (US$6.1) every week which goes towards his children’s education.
Malawi is highlighted as one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to the effects of climate change. Climate change affects the functioning of global food systems at all levels — from production to consumption.
In recent years, Malawi has experienced a rise in the frequency, intensity, and unpredictability of climate shocks, perpetuating a cycle of food and nutrition insecurity. WFP is working with the government and its partners to mitigate the impacts of the climate crisis for vulnerable and food insecure communities through an integrated risk management approach.
Read more about WFP’s work in Malawi