Farmers all over the world are struggling with the effects of climate change. Heat weaves, floodings, late onset of the rains and droughts for example lead to productivity loss, crop damages, food quality loss, etc. At the same time agriculture also contributes to climate change with the release of greenhouse gasses causing global warming. Although countries such as Malawi contribute very little to the global warming, it’s effects of climate change are disproportionally big, threatening rural livelihoods and food security.
Our Youth Test Farm project has already experienced this first hand last year. The onset of the rains were delayed and due to the hot weather the wells started to dry up until the point that there was no more water to give to our tomatoes and cabbages. The effects of wilting influenced the crops greatly and we were not able to sell them at the market.
In response to these challenges, the Youth Test Farm in Malawi helps young farmers learn more about climate smart farming. Understanding the water situation on the farm is key to good crop productivity and the drying up of the wells has thought us more about the water on our farm.
Next to this, the youth are experimenting with the use of inoculants, early maturing crops, drought resistant crops and composting. The youth are closely monitoring the growth of all the crops and by keeping good records they can learn a lot about the effects of different practices.
In addition, more trees were planted on the farm as trees have the capacity to draw down CO2 from the atmosphere, provide shade and reduce temperatures, recycle nutrients deep down the soil, increase organic matter in the soil to store more water and have a number of other benefits to the farm! Next to the trees, some beehives were installed for increased pollination and off course honey production that can diversify the farm income.
In the next coming months as the rainy season is coming to an end the youth will be harvesting. We will keep you up to date and share more about the results of climate smart farming experiments and the harvests.