Communities in Nkhotakota have applauded Financial Access for Rural Markets, Smallholders and Enterprises (FARMSE) programme for improving the social and economic livelihoods in the district.
FARMSE Programme is a seven-year nationwide development programme implemented by the Ministry of Finance, Economic, Planning and Development from 2018 to 2025.
The programme, which is being funded by the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD), supports household economic development through access to financial services that are appropriate to each socioeconomic level of poverty.
Speaking on the sidelines of the 2023 Malawi Agricultural Productivity and Commercialization Conference (MAPCC) in Lilongwe on Wednesday, Muhammad Umande said there have been rapid improvements to the lives of the targeted beneficiaries of the programme.
Umande cited the village savings and loan association (VSLA) he belongs to, which after undergoing a training in business management and VSL dynamics, they invested in herbal production and sale.
“FARMSE Programme helped us identify established markets for our products. Last year, we made K15 million from sale of herbal products and another K8.5 million from VSL,” he said.
The exhilarated VSL member disclosed that majority of the members have managed to construct modern houses and bought domestic animals in addition to paying school fees for their school-going children.
“Life has changed enormously. We are grateful to FARMSE Programme for equipping us with skills, which we are now using to improve our lives,” he said.
FARMSE Programme Specialist Kumbukani Chawanda disclosed that since it was launched in Balaka in 2018, the programme has been facilitating financial access to finance by smallholder farmers.
Chawanda said they are impressed with the impact the programme has made on targeted beneficiaries.