Mchinji District Agriculture Extension Coordination Committee (DAECC) has stressed the need for strong relationships and collaboration among stakeholders to sustain agriculture initiatives being implemented in the district.
The committee conducted a comprehensive visit to Mkanda Extension Planning Area’s (EPA) multiple communities that benefit from initiatives implemented by different stakeholders that aim at improving agriculture and livelihoods in Central Region.
DAECC Chairperson, Francis Chiwaya, underscored the need for unity between government’s extension workers and partners implementing interventions within the communities.
He said while partners initiate projects, the sustainability of these interventions ultimately relies on the commitment and continuity by extension workers.
“It is imperative for us to establish and maintain a strong relationship between government extension workers and our implementing partners.
“Partners may come and go, but our extension workers are the backbone of sustainability in these communities,” said Chiwaya.
He, therefore, urged committees such as Agriculture Area Stakeholders Panel (AASP) and extension workers to work hand in hand and make sure there is strict adherence to the district council’s approval process, as some NGOs had been bypassing it and directly engaging with EPAs.
“We must ensure that all organisations operating in an EPA are duly approved by the district council as this is essential for proper oversight and accountability,” Chiwaya stated.
Chisomo Kuchepa, Data Officer in the Monitoring and Evaluation Office at Mchinji District Council underlined the necessity of monitoring interventions by stakeholders to ensure they align with their promises.
“It is our responsibility to ensure that what stakeholders promised to do in the EPA aligns with their actions.
“Monitoring is vital to ensure that the organisations are not digressing and doing what they did not promise,” said Kuchepa.
Kuchepa also expressed gratitude to communities for their receptiveness to the technologies and practices introduced by various stakeholders.
Africa Windmill, an implementing partner in the EPA, has reached out to 15 groups in demonstration sites where they have introduced innovative irrigation techniques using windmills, rope-and-washer pumps.
Professor Banda, Project Coordinator at Africa Windmill, stated the organisation’s intention to extend these technologies to the wider community.
“After the demonstration sites, individual community members will be reached out with these technologies,” Banda said.
Notable organisations working with communities in the area include Assemblies of God Care (AG Care), Anglican Council in Malawi (ACM), African Windmill Project, NASFAM, FAO, Total Land Care (TLC) and Care Malawi among others.
The EPA is also implementing enormous programmes such as TRANSFORM and TRADE.