Written by  Alex Mwangosi
People in Mzimba North have applauded Action for Sustainable Development (ASUD) for training farmers in conservation agriculture. 
Farmers in  one of the demonstration fields Farmers in one of the demonstration fields
Group Village Headman, Gideon Singini, was speaking when farmers were planting vertivar grass along contour ridges at Emoyeni, Katula and Embombeni in the district courtesy of ASUD.  
With a hilly topography, Mzimba is one of the districts in the country that is losing a substantial amount of topsoils due to surface runoff. 
It is against this background that ASUD, a local non-governmental organization working in food security in the district, started promoting soil conservation practices among smallholder farmers. 
GVH  Singini said the skills they have gained through the project will assist the community.
“I must thank ASUD for the skills imparted on us on planting vertivar grass to control erosion. In the past, the problem of soil degradation was very serious but we didn`t know what to do. But the coming in of ASUD we have learnt how to control it through planting vertivar grass,” explained GVH  Singini. 
The GVH adds that even after ASUD winds up its operations in the impact areas people will be using the skills to control runoff.
ASUD Executive Director, Thomas Ngwira, said they came up with the initiative after realising that farmers were harvesting less due to soil degradation.
“Today ASUD is donating vertivar grass to address the challenges of erosion in this area. We saw that farmers here were harvesting fewer yields due to erosion, that is why we came up with the initiative to control runoff so that farmers should start realising enough yields for consumption and sell the excess output,” said Ngwira. 
ASUD started implementing the Food Security Project in Zombwe and Bwengu Extension Planning Areas in 2016 with financial assistance from a Swiss-based organisation known as ECOSOLIDAR. 


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