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In a country where land  is limited and scarce for both urban and rural people, the 65 year old father of four children is one of the farmers who has been cultivating on a small piece of land which could hardly sustain their livelihood especially that they were using local farming methods. “Our farming has always been tailored to just feed ourselves and that has not enough because the harvest was never sufficient to feed myself and the kids” Says Nandolo who comes from the area of Chibwana Village, Traditional Authority Amidu in the district of Balaka. After years of struggling with poor yields, profits have poured in for Jimmy Nandolo, a chairman of Nkhonde Cooperative. The difference started when AICC offered the cooperative members training on how to use improved basic farming practices, like improved ways of preparing their land, applying herbicides and planting their legume crops.

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For an individual smallholder farmer, sourcing markets for produce can be a tiresome and costly activity. Even after the efforts, one is never guaranteed that they will get the best possible deal. Such challenges are likely to lead smallholder farmers to turn away from farming activities and look for other less involving and profitable economic activities or perpetuate subsistence farming . To smallholder farmers who are members of Gwengwere cooperative, these challenges have been remitted to the archives of history. African Institute of Cooperative Citizenship (AICC) organized farmers into collective marketing groups and trained smallholders farmers under Gwengwere cooperative to be engaged in commodity aggregation and collective marketing. The intervention made the cooperative to establish an outlet that is bridging the gap between the Cooperative  and potential markets thereby allowing them guaranteed access to markets.

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Horticulture production enhances household wellbeing in Mndolera

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The Horticulture sector can be an integral part of local food system if an increase in small-scale farmers’ productivity and income is achieved. As part of investing in agriculture, The African Institute of Corporate Citizenship (AICC) in partnership with the Norwegian Church Aid (NCA) has been executing a Micro Investment project called Commercial Agribusiness for Sustainable Horticulture (CASH) and now it is implementing it under Sustainable Food Systems for Rural Resilience and Transformation (TRANSFORM) project in Dowa and Rumphi Districts. Investing in the horticulture sector can be a key to eradicating poverty, hunger and malnutrition, particularly in rural areas where most of poor people live. Different Horticulture value chains contributes to income generation, household economic welfare as well as promoting entrepreneurship and rural development. Through the review of a number of case studies of farmers in Mndolera EPA we can surely assert that horticulture can contribute to household economic well-being.

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