Targeting smallholder farmers who are diligent in the implementation of climate smart technologies, a Small-Scale Mechanization Project has taken off in Mzimba, currently benefitting six farmers including Josephine.
‘Most smallholder farmers in the country use hoes for cultivating their crops. Continuing this way, we can not make progress in the country’s agriculture sector. This is the reason, as Development Fund of Norway; we decided to start small-scale mechanization. This is in line with Malawi’s Agriculture policy which is aimed at transforming the country’s agriculture sector through the use of mechanization, said Victor Katchika-Jere, Country Representative for the Development Fund of Norway.
Implemented in a largely patrilineal society, the two wheel tractors are user friendly and apart from fallowing, they can also be used for seeding and fertilizer application.
Senior Chief Mpherembe of Mzimba commends the implementing agency, Find Your Feet, for taking the pilot project to Mzimba.
‘As we have seen, the two-wheel tractors are time saving and cost effective. They are also user-friendly as women and youth can easily operate them. Most importantly, these machines are handy for the increasing number of female-headed households in this district as most men from here migrate to South Africa.’
The smallholder farmers who have benefitted through the small-scale mechanization project are expected to pay for the tractor and trailer package valued at 2.5 million kwacha at a subsidized price of about 2 million kwacha within a period of two and half years.
‘We believe the beneficiary farmers will be able to pay the loan. As Find Your Feet, we have taken a business model by encouraging the beneficiaries to hire out the tractors and the trailers so they can make money and improve their livelihoods,’ said Chimwemwe Soko, Executive Director for Find Your Feet.
Once they pay back their loans, the funds will be used as a revolving facility to buy more tractors and benefit other smallholder farmers in the country.