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DSC01463 ALL Done By Hand

Most all farming done in rural Malawi is done by hand, entire fields even. Usually the only tool, if they have one, is a hoe.

The Othakarhaka Foundation currently has 1,135 small holder farmers participating in their agriculture program. Each farmer is loaned a small plot of land and given enough high yield seeds (maize) for one crop. They are then taught how to sow the seeds, fertilize them, water them, tend to the growth, and harvest. Upon harvest, they are required to give one 50kg bag back to the Foundation each year (which helps fund/support Othakarhaka programs).

This year all farmers in the program are doing well even despite drought because they had seed and fertilizer and they started at first rains (so crops already had a good start when the dry spell started). There are no mechanized farming tools or help. Instead they usually just have one tool: the hoe. They apply fertilizer by hand. They reroute irrigation ditches by hand (move mud from one ditch to another to control where the water flows)… all on a manual time table.

With their small profits (even after giving back the required 50 kg bag of maize), farmers have built houses or added roofs or cement floors. Some have started small businesses selling groceries, fish, goats, etc. Each farmer that has participated in the program so far is fully self sustaining at this point (selling their product and having enough money to feed their families and sometimes starting other businesses). The more money that can be raised, the more farmers can be brought into the program.

Othakarhaka Foundation, Mulanje District, Malawi

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Patricia Fortlage All Rights Reserved
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Othakarhaka: "passing on the kindness"
Most all farming done in rural Malawi is done by hand, entire fields even.  Usually the only tool, if they have one, is a hoe.<br />
<br />
The Othakarhaka Foundation currently has 1,135 small holder farmers participating in their agriculture program.  Each farmer is loaned a small plot of land and given enough high yield seeds (maize) for one crop.  They are then taught how to sow the seeds, fertilize them, water them, tend to the growth, and harvest. Upon harvest, they are required to give one 50kg bag back to the Foundation each year (which helps fund/support Othakarhaka programs).  <br />
<br />
This year all farmers in the program are doing well even despite drought because they had seed and fertilizer and they started at first rains (so crops already had a good start when the dry spell started).  There are no mechanized farming tools or help.  Instead they usually just have one tool:  the hoe.  They apply fertilizer by hand.  They reroute irrigation ditches by hand (move mud from one ditch to another to control where the water flows)… all on a manual time table.<br />
<br />
With their small profits (even after giving back the required 50 kg bag of maize), farmers have built houses or added roofs or cement floors.  Some have started small businesses selling groceries, fish, goats, etc.  Each farmer that has participated in the program so far is fully self sustaining at this point (selling their product and having enough money to feed their families and sometimes starting other businesses).  The more money that can be raised, the more farmers can be brought into the program.<br />
<br />
Othakarhaka Foundation, Mulanje District, Malawi<br />
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