Market exploration ideal for local products

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Market exploration ideal for local products

By Steve Chirombo

Chikwawa, June 19, Mana: Trocaire, a leading partner in the European Union (EU) funded three years project, ‘Building Climate Resilient Communities Around Wildlife Protected Areas’ says market exploration is ideal for locally produced products.

Trocaire Country Director, Jeannette Wijnants, made the sentiments on Thursday during a field visit to project areas where Circle for Integrated Community Development (CICOD), one of the implementing partners within the consortium, is doing its activities under Traditional Authority (TA) Ndakwera in Chikwawa District.

Her remarks were in response to requests made by representatives of community groups that are producing baskets, mats as well as fruit juices in Group Village Heads Mandrade and Tomasi in the area.

Community Based Promoter, Prisca Myberg and Treasure for a waiving group, William Lanken decried access to markets for their products as well as support towards value addition.

One member showing fruit juices

While Ida Damishoni, a member of Mbundu fruit Juice production group said they needed markets as most of their products were locally sold hence a need to go beyond.

“For the groups with other income generating activities, we hope that we will be able to be looking into how we can be able to link them into markets so that they can be able to sell their products and have another income.

“We are exploring together. Sometimes it’s access and in simple means transport. However CICOD is also linking up with other agencies so that we can have markets through,” said Wijnants

She further added that the project was trying to build resilient communities and also conserving the wildlife by looking at animal human conflict that arises.

“Because of poverty, climate change and not having the natural resources communities resort to bad practices like poaching, cutting trees for charcoal among many other malpractices.

“What the project is trying to do is to provide different income generating activities for the local people from the forest based resources. The project is reaching out to 31 GVHs living next to the protected areas namely; Lengwe National Park, Mbabvi Wildlife Reserve as well as Kasungu National Park,” she added

CICOD Executive Director, Amos Tizora said additionally there were more activities happening around Lengwe include Village Savings and Loans (VSLs) as well as the goat pass on programs on top of forest conservation.

He said all the interventions are done to make sure that the communities have enough income for themselves but also they do have trees around their houses so that by the end of the day they do not encroach the protected area.

“So far so good and we have achieved a lot of improvement. We are in the second year and by 3rd year we should be able to achieve what we planned.

“Basically, most of our activities in the second year are towards linking these different beneficiaries to other groups in nearby places within Chikwawa and outside to help them sale their products. We think we may make a breakthrough in terms of exploring markets for these different products,” he said

Chikwawa Director of Agriculture, Donald Ghambi and District Forestry Officer, Hector Nkawihe expressed gratitude at the way lives of communities under the programme were being transformed.

Nkawihe said the activities under the program were in two folds aiming at improving the forestry management as well as improving the livelihoods of the communities.

“It’s quite an eye opener that our partners managed to come into the remote areas trying to protect the environment and other natural resources and also trying to teach the farmers out there how to conserve the trees,” indicated Ghambi