In our main area, Chiringa, the recent maize harvest was poor, but in our southern region, Muona, the result was disastrous. Here, due to knee-high floods then abrupt drought, much of the harvest failed completely. Our OHP yield was less than 10% of last year’s total. Consequently, people are already hungry, and in the three weeks between our two trips to Muona, the price of maize increased by more than 40%. The vulnerable are always on the bottom rung of the food ladder, but even our OHP volunteers are hungry - it’s the worst scenario for many years, and can only deteriorate.
Spending the last three months in Malawi has enabled us to consider, at length, the real needs of these poverty-stricken communities. Life is tough, the climate’s aggressive, and the vulnerable indescribably poor, so they’re always at the mercy of hunger, disease and lack of education.
OPEN HAND PROJECTS (OHP) - Aid Africa’s “working title” in Malawi - continues to profoundly impact the lives of thousands in the rural areas.
• Because of the gravity of the situation, we’ve bought
in tonnes of maize for those assessed most
vulnerable, to be distributed later in the year as
• Our staff have created an extensive vegetable garden
outside our offices. Here we’re growing mustard,
chinese cabbage, cassava, sweet potatoes and over
160 tomato plants - all to feed the vulnerable
• Challenged by Malawi’s deforestation, we’ve joined forces with the local
Agro-Forestry Gov. Dept. to develop a tree nursery on our land. We’re
particularly interested in quick-growing trees for fuel, to prevent the loss
of hardwoods, and also those specifically for fruit, compost and manure.
• On our new land in Muona, we’ve planted a vegetable
garden, trialling the use of plastic paper lined trenches
to aid irrigation.
• Despite maize being Malawi’s staple diet, we’ll be
multi-planting other crops when the rains come in
November, to spread the risk of loss
• We’re planning more agricultural training courses to teach the most
appropriate methods of planting and management.
Report of Malawi trip - Apr/Jun 2008
This is page 1 Summer trip 2008