Next on the list of New 2018 Projects is “Conservation Agriculture.” We at Bridges to Malawi have met some remarkable people who are now advising us about the best ways to help the poor subsistence farmers of the Kasungu East District in Malawi get better crop yields in as sustainable manner.as possible. They recommended that we encourage “no-till” or “limited till” agriculture. This includes the use of mulch (not commonly done in Malawi), which provides more organic material for the soil, traps more moisture in the soil, and reduces weed proliferation. In addition, we hope to introduce the Magoye Ripper or a similar cultivation device. The Ripper is designed to minimize the amount of soil disturbed as crops are planted, thus limiting topsoil and moisture loss. We plan to conduct a study intended to convince the local farmers of the benefits of such changes in technique. Each ripper will cost about $100. We will replace all of our current plows with these and use them exclusively in all donations to aid farmers in the future. We hope to have them locally made by a blacksmith or two as a way of aiding the local economy, something we always strive to do. As part of our desire to change agricultural practices in the Kasungu East District, we will be paying for an agricultural expert soon to be hired by K2TASO, to help ensure that we carry out our projects in as effective and culturally acceptable a manner as possible.
Next is the “Palma Soap” Project. Palma Soap is an mosquito repellent soap which can be made locally in Malawi. Bridges to Malawi was instrumental in bringing Enactus Edinburgh (a Scottish University based group) together with K2TASO (our Malawian partner organization) to establish a small business run by local farm women in the Kasungu East District. These women have already made 40 bars of the soap and plan to ramp up their production as their market increases. This is yet another way that Bridges to Malawi is hoping to help the local economy and reduce malaria infection and death rates.