OUR SERVICES

Crop Diversification under Climate Smart Agricultural Practices (CSA)

CSA practices will be promoted in a participatory framework with organized groups of farmers to increase the production, diversification and marketing of drought resistant, high yielding, nutrient dense crops linked to lucrative value chains. Examples include soya beans, groundnuts, sunflower, cowpeas, pigeon peas, cassava, sweet potatoes and spices). Targeted practices include conservation agriculture, farmer managed natural regeneration (FMNR), agroforestry, doubled-up legumes and fodder / green manure cover crops – preferably with two or more practices operating together. Evidence based results on CA alone show yield increases of 20-30% for cereals but this increases to 60% when combined with Faidherbia albida. For legumes such as groundnuts, CA increases yields by 80% with 40% lower input and labour costs. In dry years, yield increases can more than double, demonstrating high resilience to climate shocks.

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Integrated Watershed Management

TLC supports initiatives that restore the resilience, productivity and watershed functions of degraded landscapes. They include natural regeneration, reforestation, stream bank protection, contour hedgerows of vetiver and trees and trenches for capturing runoff. Promotion of TLC Rocket Stoves at the household adds great value by reducing the use of wood and labour for its collection by 60-65%, which has immediate effects on reducing deforestation. The results help to secure the sustainable management and biodiversity of these areas with reduced risks from natural disasters, while increasing forest cover, stream flows and ground water supplies to meet the food, energy, water, shelter and other needs of communities over the long term.

Irrigation


The project will support individual farmers or groups to access irrigation equipment through bank loans or direct purchase from ago-dealers to increase food security, nutrition and incomes. Choice of equipment (treadle pumps, stream diversion, drip and solar systems) depends on farmer resources, terrain and water availability. Key attributes are that irrigation offsets risks of losing rainfed crops due to climate shocks and produces high gross margins, e.g., beans: $2940; tomatoes: $4410; maize: $5175; bird’s eye chillies: $5850 (Hayes et al., 2004).
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Agro-biodiversity

Malawi is pushing the boundaries of its ecosystem to its limits caused by agricultural expansion and growing demands for fuel wood which are the major drivers of deforestation and loss of biodiversity. Forests are carbon sinks and their loss causes temperatures to rise. Malawi has already experienced the impact of deforestation and the degraded land is unable to capture, store and ration water to the rivers throughout the year. The aim is to strengthen the management of genetic diversity of plants, animals and fish locally and nationally while increasing the knowledge of small-scale producers to the benefits of greater diversity. This will strengthen the breeding of plants and animals locally and nationally. TLC has facilitated groups of local seed growers to establish seed banks and diversity blocks to provide improved seed that is affordable and accessible by local farmers

Post-Harvest Management

Push-Pull is an integrated CSA practice that increases crop yields by improving soil moisture and fertility and by controlling pests without chemicals through companion plants that suppress, repel and push away harmful crop pests. Midega et al., (2015) report 2 fold increases in maize yields with a 50-100% reduction of stem borers and striga. After 5 years, striga seed banks are eliminated. Push-pull also provides quality fodder, helps to suppress weeds and shows promise for controlling the fall army worm (www.push_pull.net). The project will build on TLC experiences with ICIPE to scale up the technology with local seed multiplication of companion crops under pass-on systems. Push-Pull also shows promise to control or reduce the incidence of the fall armyworm which is a pest native to tropical and sub-tropical America that has recently invaded Malawi, causing substantial damage to maize and other crops. TLC is evaluating the adaptation and functionality of push-pull as an added tool for managing the fall armyworm in Malawi.

Integration of Livestock with Crops

Small livestock will be integrated into farming systems to strengthen resilience to climate and other shocks by offsetting risks of crop failures while increasing incomes and animal protein in the diet. Experiences of TLC and SSLLP show 2-3 fold increases in household incomes and animal protein in the diet within 3 years.
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Access to Markets and Finance

Malawi is pushing the boundaries of its ecosystem to its limits caused by agricultural expansion and growing demands for fuel wood which are the major drivers of deforestation and loss of biodiversity. Forests are carbon sinks and their loss causes temperatures to rise. Malawi has already experienced the impact of deforestation and the degraded land is unable to capture, store and ration water to the rivers throughout the year. The aim is to strengthen the management of genetic diversity of plants, animals and fish locally and nationally while increasing the knowledge of small-scale producers to the benefits of greater diversity. This will strengthen the breeding of plants and animals locally and nationally. TLC has facilitated groups of local seed growers to establish seed banks and diversity blocks to provide improved seed that is affordable and accessible by local farmers
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Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)

Poor sanitary and hygiene practices, including lack of education health services leads to human disease outbreaks that compromise on labor productivity. To counter this, TLC continues to support communities with shallow and eco pit latrines materials. Men highly appreciate the improved access to potable water since women no longer walk long distances in search of clean water which further prevents women and the girl child abuse.

Household Health and Nutrition

The usual Malawian diet lacks adequate nutrients due to inadequate knowledge, poor access, and limited availability of diverse foods from all food groups to meet nutritional requirements. In a quest to improve beneficiaries’ knowledge on nutrition and ensure that they consume nutritious and diversified diets, TLC trains nutrition promoters and households in nutrition and care practices. Training covers food handling, processing and preservation, and food safety. They equip beneficiaries with knowledge on food budgeting, handling of the food to prevent contamination, and processing to improve taste, retain nutrients, and prolong shelf life of the food. The households are trained through Care Groups, Demo plots of Nutrient dense crops, and Home Grown School Committees. By obtaining multiple food processing and preparatory skills communities will continue earning profits even beyond projects while providing access to others on processed foods at local markets.

Push-Pull Technology

Push-Pull is an integrated CSA practice that increases crop yields by improving soil moisture and fertility and by controlling pests without chemicals through companion plants that suppress, repel and push away harmful crop pests. Midega et al., (2015) report 2 fold increases in maize yields with a 50-100% reduction of stem borers and striga. After 5 years, striga seed banks are eliminated. Push-pull also provides quality fodder, helps to suppress weeds and shows promise for controlling the fall army worm (www.push_pull.net). The project will build on TLC experiences with ICIPE to scale up the technology with local seed multiplication of companion crops under pass-on systems. Push-Pull also shows promise to control or reduce the incidence of the fall armyworm which is a pest native to tropical and sub-tropical America that has recently invaded Malawi, causing substantial damage to maize and other crops. TLC is evaluating the adaptation and functionality of push-pull as an added tool for managing the fall armyworm in Malawi.
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Ambition, hard work and good farming advice equal success

When Madalitso Ching’ombe 31 years moved from Ntchisi to Malomo to follow her heart when she married her husband, she left behind 6 ha of family land planted with macadamia trees in Ntchisi but she had no intention of giving up farming. She first leased 2 ha and boosted production due to TLC training in CA and access to input loans for 3 years. She has now expanded to 6 ha leased land of primarily soybeans sold through the local coop thanks to TLC’s link to input loans through First Capital Bank.

Madalitso uses her new-found wealth to pay $500 fees annually for her 2 children’s primary boarding school. However, she also wants to increase production on the rest of the Ntchisi family land by irrigating 2 ha and by planting rain-fed groundnuts, beans and sunflower, all good cash crops with relatively high and stable prices.

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