Meet two of the smallholder farmers we’re supporting through Our Malawi Partnership.
Nkhata-Bay Highlands Coffee Growers Co-operative Society Limited.
Boyfat, 28 is married and has one child, he holds Malawi Schools Certificate of Education and lives in Nkhata-Bay, about 25km from Mzuzu City. He draws his inspiration from elderly farmers like Mr Panja and others from Mulele zone which is part of Nkhata-Bay Highlands Coffee Growers Co-operative Society Limited.
He has 5 years experience in coffee farming, owns two acres of land with 1,000 coffee trees. 500 trees are bearing trees producing 1,800 kgs produce, an average of 3.6 kgs per tree and the other 500 trees were planted in 2021 and are yet to start producing. He also grows maize and beans.
Boyfat says climate change, pests and diseases are the biggest challenges he faces, made worse by increased in fertilizer and pesticide prices. Harvesting requires increased labour to assist with picking coffee and also transporting to Mulele Zone where the processing takes place. Their co-operative has a high turnover of staff so have torely on fellow farmers. Delays in payment affect them so they now invest in beans and maize, that can be sold for cash.
He has built a three bedroomed house and has five pigs which produce manure to improve his crops. He hopes to increase his coffee tree population to two thousand to enable him to support his child’s education, buy additional land and a car.
Chikwatula Macadamia Co-operative Society Limited.
Wellington is in Ntchisi district in the central region about 110km from Lilongwe, the capital city. He is 32, a holder of a Malawi Schools Certificate of Education (MSCE), married and has three children. He draws his inspiration from his father who is also a member of the same Chikwatula Macadamia Co-operative Society.
He has 5 years’ experience in macadamia farming, owns six acres of land but only four acres are used. He has 840 macadamia trees,730 trees are bearing trees and 110 trees were planted in 2022 and are yet to start producing. The 730 trees are able produce 9,500 kgs an average of 13 kgs per tree.
The production challenges that Wellington faces are, climate change resulting in unstable weather conditions and pest and diseases which in extreme cases cause complete wilting of the trees. Any replanting required is a challenge due to the high cost of macadamia seedlings and fertilizer. The high cost also means he is unable to increase the tree population to the desired number of trees.
There are also challenges post-production, labour costs are high to cope with harvesting, warehousing facilities are not always available, and lack of services mean quality standards on moisture content are not always possible to obtain. Wellington plans to construct a warehouse for proper management of his harvests.
Wellington is also the proud owner of a three-ton truck, twelve goats and three cows, all acquired from Macadamia farming.