Communities in Karonga District have been urged to embrace crop diversification as one way of ensuring food security and as a way of fighting against malnutrition in the district.
Speaking in an interview on the side-line of a field visit of groups under the Afikepo Projecg at Ngisi in the area of Traditional Authority Mwakaboko, Kaporo North EPA Agricultural Adviser Humbart Soko, said among others crop diversification provides small holder farmers with a diversity of diet thereby improving their nutrition security.
“As Government and development partners are advocating for the six food groups to be taken in households if crop diversification can be fully embraced it can as a result contribute significantly to livelihood and improved health and nutrition therefore contributing to the fight against malnutrition,” he said.
Soko further added, that good nutrition food allows the brain to function properly resulting in more affective knowledgewith school going children.
“Good nutritional food especially during the critical first 1000 days between pregnancy and age 2is foundational to the physical and cognitive development of the infants and young children hence the importance of the six food groups,” he explained.
Speaking in a separate interview Brave Kanjele a promoter of the Afikepo project in the area, expressed gratitude to the community for their enthusiasm for the project.
He said, the community’s passion to learn about the six food groups has been a contributing factor towards the success of the project in the area hence hailed the community at Ngisi.
Concurring with Kanjele one of the community members Veronica Chilongo, said the project has enlightened them on the six food groups saying the knowledge that they have acquired has been an eye opener.
“Previously we did not know what the six food groups were let alone how to preserve things like fruits in the lean periods like bananas but now we are much more aware of the significance of cultivating the right foods that we can also preserve in order to keep our households healthy,” she articulated.
With funding from the European Union Afikepo is a Government of Malawi project implemented in partnership with Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and United Nation’s Children Fund (UNICEF).