The Tiyeni Group / Nchima Trust have been busy in Mulanje with planting having started in some areas.
Nchima trust has worked with Tiyeni for the past four years, a partnership that has been of considerable benefit to the local population of subsistence farming. The work has been greatly facilitated by a gentleman called Namelord who is Tiyeni’s principle instructor in deep bed farming. The principles include deep digging so that the compacted pan of earth below the surface is broken. The beds are then made with very careful attention to contouring so that any rain water is trapped between the ridged beds. The farmers ensure that nobody walks on the deepdug contours so that the soil remains free of compaction and water soaks into the subsoil rather than running off down the hill.
The technique requires collaboration between farmers so it helps maintain community relations as well as helping to get the job done simply by sharing the workload. Regardless of whether the rains are poor, good or too heavy, the deep bed technique helps to capture rain and reduce the risk of soil erosion.
There are over 40 farmers who contribute to the project at Chinyama, and this year, another area in Mulanje has become involved, with several villages in Zomba keen to join.