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Home-grown food security targets 150,000

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Face-to-Face, a local non-governmental organisation, is in an expansion drive of its second phase of Victory Gardens campaign, a food security intervention that will hit 50,000 home gardens feeding 150,000 come 2019 at an estimated cost of K2,500 per person.

Making the announcement in Lilongwe on Friday, Face-to-Face Programme Manager, Mike Chikakuda, said decades of maize monoculture in rural villages has resulted in a steady decline in soil fertility and yields and alarming increases in soil erosion and malnutrition rates.

Face-to-Face’s project promises to increase food production in villagers while boosting nutrition and improving soil fertility.

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“It is very simple to use locally available resources to manage victory gardens which are small in size. They can be two by two metres or three by three metres in size and be created within the homes. They use little waste water to provide moisture. This is a food and nutrition security intervention that can help to curb cases of hunger,” said Chikakuda after he made the announcement.

The Victory Garden campaign teaches villagers methods of utilising organic, bio-intensive and permaculture practices.

They also reduce the risk of relying solely on one crop (maize), increase income by selling surplus food, decrease costs by eliminating chemical fertilisers, improve soil quality and reduce erosion.

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The initiative, underway in Lilongwe, Phalombe and Nkhata Bay, has so far registered close to 55,000 households who have adopted the methods.

Village Head Makulenje from Traditional Authority Chiseka in Lilongwe said they started with only 25 farmers in this permaculture linked initiative.

“We no longer have to travel long distances looking for relish, especially vegetables. At the moment, we save the money we used to spent on relish and channel it to other household requirements such as soap and salt,” said Chiseka.

When hunger threatened Malawians in the past season, Face-to-Face launched the Victory Garden campaign to fight the food crisis to help 100,000 drought-stricken Malawians wad off hunger by cultivating high-yield, low-cost home gardens.

The campaign provided long-term, sustainable relief to over 22,000 families at risk of hunger as early as August, 2016.

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