By Wishes Mumba
Mchinji, January 21, Mana: The Development Aid from People to People (DAPP) has rolled out a mushroom production pilot project in Traditional Authority (T/A) Mlonyeni in Mchinji with an aim of improving income generating activities for the youth.
In an interview with the Malawi News Agency (MANA) on Thursday, Head of Grants Monitoring and Evaluation Officer, for DAPP, Chimwemwe Mponya, the mushroom production project shall pilot with 80 youthful farmers.
He said these youths will be trained on how to grow mushrooms as a commercial commodity.
“Their participation in the mushroom farming value chain will in due course strengthen their individual families’ incomes,” he said.
He added: “In the pilot phase of the project, we shall start with 80 young rural farmers who will be organized into eight groups of 10 members each, in T/A Mlonyeni, they will be taught how to produce, harvest, process, and market mushrooms.”
According to Mponya, the 80 young farmers, 60 percent of whom will be female, shall be provided with raw materials such as mushroom spawn that will be sourced from Lilongwe University of Agriculture (LUANAR).
“They will also be provided with items and equipment that will be used in the construction of durable production units for the mushrooms.
“Thereafter, a number of technical staff from DAPP and other stakeholders will work hand in hand with the selected farmers in the production process of the final product,” Mponya said.
“After we successfully identify and register the farmers and are done with the first phase, our organization and other stakeholders such as the local government shall provide backstopping to a number of technical individuals who will facilitate production,” he added.
Speaking on behalf of MchinjiDistrict Commissioner (DC), Noel Dakamau, the district’s Director of Planning and Development (DPD) expressed gratitude to DAPP for extending their good will gesture to the rural youth of Mchinji.
He said the project is important to the youth because employment is scarce and therefore encouraged the selected youth to listen carefully to their instructors.
“On behalf of the DC, I express my appreciation to DAPP for coming up with a project that shall in the long run economically empower a good number of youths in the district,” he said.
He added: “With the influx of imported mushroom that is passing through the Mwami boarder from Zambia, this project has come at an appropriate time because there is a demand for the same.”
German Cooperation Deutsche Zusammenarbeit-RYE (GIZ-RYE) through DAPP, has funded the mushroom production pilot project to the sum of MK43,393,521, and it is expected to run for a period of 11 months from January, 2021.