How’s your garden coming along? In Minnesota, our garden (mostly cared for by our wonderful housemate, EB), is at its best right now. We have tomatoes, kale, carrots, and much more. You may be surprised to know that this is very similar to what you might see in Malawi!
About 90% of the population in Malawi live in rural areas, so there are farms and “kitchen” gardens everywhere you look. Many of the SIA Small Business Fund grants in Malawi provide families with the necessary start-up capital to start or expand their farms. This is an important source of both income (from selling vegetables) and food security for the families.
When we met Tereza Zimba, she told us that “at home, there is plenty of maize” after she and her husband opened a grocery stand at the Manyamula market in 2008. She was so grateful to be able to feed her family and have enough maize stored up for the “hungry season”.
The “hungry season” happens at the end of the rainy season when the crop is planted but not yet ready for harvest. Growing and storing enough maize to make it through the year is a great accomplishment for a Malawian family. Like Tereza, many other people shared that with SIA’s help they are now “food secure.” This is the powerful impact of our programs.
As in Minnesota, tomatoes, kale, maize, and green beans are all common crops in Malawi. Check out these amazing tomatoes on Light Banda’s farm!
Light is a member of the Manyamula Savings and Loans Group, which was started in partnership with Spirit in Action last year. He learned techniques for growing tomatoes and maize in the rocky soil from fellow group members. When Light harvests and sells the crops from his .75 acre plot, he expects to bring in over $1,000 US dollars, which he will use to improve his house.
Working together, encouraging each other, and providing low-interest loans, the Manyamula Savings and Loans Group ensures that everyone has enough food for their families to eat until they are full!