In recent years, these farmers like those in other parts of the country have had challenges to harvest enough due to high degradation of soils chiefly contributed by soil erosion due to floods.
It has also been observed that crop production in the district has drastically reduced due to the erratic rainfall the district is receiving as lands which were reserved for forests and wildlife are now being cultivated thereby altering the rainfall pattern much to the disadvantage of the farmers.
In trying to reserve these climate change effects, government working with communities has devised ways to adapt. Samson Nyirenda chairperson of Tikolesyane group is among those striving to bring back the good old days. Nyirenda says 3 years ago, her village experienced the worst floods and lost valuable assets like livestock.
She, together with her 11 group members decided to venture into piggery. They sell the pork but use the pig dung as fertilizer on their farms to deal with soil erosion. Nyirenda says manure from pigs has improved the soil structure in her area.
”The issue is about climate change, the adapt plan project provided us with pigs which now give us manure. We use manure in our gardens, we don’t use fertilizer anymore. We have really improved our soil structure,” says Nyirenda.
Veterinary officer for the area Khumbanani Munyenyembe says livestock farming like piggery is helping in the climate change adaption process.
He says utilizing manure to meet crop nutrient needs is beneficial for many reasons as it reduces soil erosion if properly managed and that farmers can often save money by properly using pig manure as fertilizer.
According to a 2008 report by Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources, pork in Malawi is the second highest earner in livestock sector.
Tikolesyane group’s efforts in dealing with climate change through commercial pig farming caught the attention of Adapt Plan Project officials who now provide them with assistance through training among other things.
The Adapt Plan, a government project with support from UNDP is helping to address climate change effects in local communities through various interventions according to Deputy Director of Environmental Affairs, Michael Makonombera.
Despite some strides, climate change is the challenge of our time; it is still accelerating faster than our efforts to address it. Due to climate change, millions of people in developing countries like Malawi have already suffered loss and damage and have been unable to recuperate their losses.