Tobacco is king in Malawi, the chief cash crop grown in the red fields. But for the thousands of farmers like Fyness Kagwaminiga who have just an acre of land, when the crop fails or the price falls there is no money to feed the family.
This year Kagwaminiga, the father of seven children, will harvest his first crop of cassava, which he planted with cuttings provided by ELDP as part of its work to promote food security. Cassava is a good alternative to tobacco because the roots are a food source and the leaves can be sold for cuttings and also turned back into the soil as a natural fertilizer.
Sweet potatoes, soybeans and groundnuts are other vegetables ELDP promotes as an alternative that both assures food for families and generates income.
Maize, or corn, is the country's other cash crop and also a food staple. ELDP offers villages loan programs that provide households with maize seed and fertilizer. Local development staff also teach farmers how to produce organic fertilizers and build small irrigation systems.
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