Women in Traditional Authority Nsamala in Balaka District have commended a cotton value chain project for transforming their lives.
The project, implemented by African Institute of Corporate Citizenship (AICC), has drilled at least 2 600 women cotton farmers and youths in the area on how to run businesses to support their families.
Speaking on Saturday during a field visit at Lakalaka Village to appreciate the project’s impact, Nankhombe Cooperative secretary Nellie Kholowa said they ventured into livestock farming to promote household nutrition and income generation.
She said: “During the trainings, we learned to form groups and cooperatives as they are critical in sustainable agriculture development.
“We raised K150 000 to construct a kraal to venture into poultry farming and we have raised 54 local chickens.”
Kholowa said the cooperative plans to raise more local chickens as they are on high demand.
One of the youth, Dorothy Mataka, said the lessons helped her understand that farming is a business.
She said: “Farming is one of the reliable income generating activities. We learned that working under a cooperative increases our bargaining power.
“We are now into poultry farming which is helping us generate income for food and for other basic necessities.”
On her part, AICC field officer for women in cotton value chain project Khadija Injesi said the projectsought to empower women cotton farmers and youths to enhance their livelihoods.
“We also trained beneficiaries around Rivirivi Extension Planning Area to establish backyard gardens and beekeeping. We are also striving to change mindset among the youth who believe that farming does not pay,” she said.
Balaka is one of the drought-prone districts in the country that experiences food shortages.