Centre for Environmental Policy and Advocacy (CEPA) has launched a multimillion-kwacha Promoting organic Systems of Soil Improvement to Build a Lasting Economy (POSSIBLE) Project, which has been initiated to help in addressing the problem of waste management in the cities of Blantyre and Lilongwe.
CEPA is implementing the project in partnership with partnership with WASTE Advisers and Malawi University of Business and Applied Sciences (MUBAS). The 36-month project, which runs from December 2022 – December 2025, has a total budget of EUR 1, 263, 158 out of which EUR1, 200, 000 is from the European Union (EU).
Speaking to journalists after the launch, EU Head of Cooperation, Ivo Hoefkens, challenged residents, government and non-state actors to collaborate in managing waste.
Hoefkens stated that although ‘this is a small investment compared to other programs that we have in Malawi’.
“But I think it will have a big impact because it addresses issues of wastes management, which is a problem in city and at the same time the issues of fertilizer, which has become extremely expensive and actually it has also become harmful to the soils. So, using the wastes and transforming it to compost, which is better, produces bigger yields for the farmers, it is a win-win situation for everybody,” he said.
He added, “Because it’s clear that chemical fertilizer it’s not working properly, it is extracting nutrients from the soil, we have held today, a lot of soils in Malawi have a reached a point where using fertilizers is reducing productivity. So, it is high time that we find out solutions that do better.”
CEPA Executive Director Herbert Mwalukomo said it is possible for Malawi to transform agricultural system if farmers can realize the importance of using compost for increasing soil fertility.
Mwalukomo stated that Malawi cannot continue relying on chemical fertilizer because of the harm it is causing to the soil health.
“Looking at where we are coming from and crisis that we have in terms of soil health, we cannot continue relying on chemical fertilizers forever because the more we do so the more we are decreasing crop yields because of so many factors, including the acidification of our soils and the loss of organic matter,” he said.
Mayor for Lilongwe City Council, Councillor Richard Banda, described POSSIBLE Project as very important to both cities, saying it will help in reducing the amount of garbage residents are generating on a daily basis.
“As a city council there is a big task we have to play the one of these roles is that we suppose to tell people on how they can be correcting these gabadges from the cities and we also need to work hand in hand with the ministry of Agriculture, so that most of farmers should also be part of the team in correcting the wastes in the cities and do composite manure in their areas, so that in this case we can decrease wastes in the cities,” he said.
Director of Land Resources Management in the Ministry of Agriculture, Gertrude Kambauwa, said the project is in line with other interventions the ministry is undertaking, including promoting use of organic manure to improve soil health and increase production.
“This project is very important because it will help us in our efforts we are already taking to promote organic manure utilization. And for us in this work, our interest will be on the volumes of manure that will be produced so that are easily accessible to all farmers that would want to use it because we have a challenge in the sense that to produce compost, which is enough, for example, to an acre a farmer would need to do much more,” said Kambauwa.