Making a Difference in Malawi
Simeon Kampala is 49 and farms in the Lilongwe Rural District. Like many of his peers, Simeon has practiced traditional farming, growing corn and tobacco and struggling to feed himself and his family.
In 2007, Simeon heard about a new program in the area called Farmers’ Clubs, which was bringing new conservation farming methods and other skills to help improve the situation of growers like himself.
“I learned many things from the demonstrations, and I knew that if I did the same thing on my land it would mean much more production and income for my family,” he said. Two of the crops Simeon learned about growing were peanuts and soy. He tried both and was very successful. The soy was so profitable for him that he abandoned his tobacco production to devote more area to soy. Part of the profitability was linked to the purchase of a Vita-goat soy processor by members of his club, which allowed them to produce soy milk and yogurt. The soy waste generated from the Vita-goat was, in turn, sold as chicken feed.
In addition to the soy and peanuts, Simeon learned to grow corn and vegetables in winter. During the past three years, Simeon was able to triple his production. He has more than doubled the size of his land, and was able to purchase a motorized pump to irrigate his land. He also can now send his children to school. “Farmers’ Clubs,” says Simeon, “changed my life.”
During the past three years, Simeon was able to triple his production by participating in the USDA-funded Farmers’ Clubs.