The Farm Income Diversification Programme (FIDP) phase II of the project has helped farmers in fighting malnutrition in Mzimba through training households on how they can prepare locally available foods that have all the required food groups.
FIDP, a project that is run by the government of Malawi and funded by the European nations started in 2009 to 2014 in the district focusing on production and was implemented in six EPAs but changed focus in 2015 to nutrition and agribusiness, targeting the same beneficiaries that were targeted on production.
Despite Mzimba having a history of producing more foods, malnutrition levels particularly on children is still a cause of worry, a development FIDP Project Desk Officer Vinjeru Mkandawire attribute to poor preparation of food.
“Most of the times, the food is available but the households don’t know what to do with it in terms of preparing it especially for the babies such that they are malnourished because most of the times the women don’t know how to prepare the food for the kids,” Mkandawire said.
As part of ensuring that the farmers fight malnutrition they have been training them on how to utilize the food they have and as a way of passing information to the households, Mkandawire said they have created a chain of passing information.
“We trained five farmers from each farmer group and these are facilitators and this was just like a starting point so after they were trained they were supposed to go ahead and train two more so we took five from each farmer group and we have 16 farmer groups in Mzimba,” she said.
Mkandawire added, “Those two are supposed to identify another two, so it will be like a chain so the facilitators were trained by the officers from our office then they trained two farmers who will also train two each and it will continue like that.”
Apart from focusing on nutrition, FIDP is also focusing on agribusiness so that farmers are business oriented and the project has also integrated issues of gender and HIV AIDS.