Deus' story: Food Security for his family, year round!
Deus Alimakiyo, is a small-holder farmer from the Tengo village in Lilongwe district, Malawi. Deus is 36 years old and is happily married to Esinta who is 31. Together they have 3 children: two girls and one boy. Tamandani is 11, Zakeyo is eight and Fatima is four years old.
Deus' livelihood, his farm, heavily relied on rain fed agriculture in the past. His harvests, of maize, groundnuts and tobacco, usually lasted him six or seven months. After that, he would have to depend on buying maize from the local markets. Unfortunately, with the dry spells that continue to hit his area, food supplies have become scarce and much more expensive.
Deus decided to join his local Farmer Field School in hopes of receiving training on winter cropping, which would help him provide food for his family all year long. Deus received training on good agricultural practices, the benefits of proper irrigation for gardens and how to use and maintain a treadle pump. A treadle pump is a human-powered suction pump that sits on top of a well and is used for irrigation.
Deus realized the importance of practicing irrigated agriculture and rented a plot of land along the Kadakatali river. In February, Deus planted a quick-maturing maize variety as well as onions, tomatoes, cassava and sweet potatoes. The maize takes only ninety days to mature and will see Deus’ family through to the next rainy season! Quick-maturing maize seeds and vegetable growing with irrigation has brought new hope for Deus and his family. “Winter cropping has helped me bridge the lean season by having adequate food for my family as well as creating an opportunity to increase my income," said Deus.
“Today I am able to comfortably support my family as I am able to send my children to school, buy them school uniforms and all necessary items for home use. I have also managed to purchase two cell phones (one for me and the other for my wife), which has also helped me connect with my customers wherever I am. I am able to receive information on how different crops are selling at different markets on the same phone through the Esoko Facility, a mobile phone-based market and price information sharing platform, and that has helped me a lot to decide prices for my produce,” said Deus.