Blog 4 – Mother Elizabeth Organic Farm

In a remote part of Mzimba District, about 1 kilometre from Vwaza Marsh Game Reserve, there is a locally-run Organic Farm and Lodges Enterprise. It is run by Patrick. Patrick is very committed to the concept of organic farming and practises what he preaches. But he needs help, as do so many small enterprises in Malawi. Capital (lack of) is always a huge issue. 

We are working with Patrick to draw up a plan. He has constructed a hostel where students can stay as they come to learn the practices of organic farming. This is now functioning. He has 4 lodges, each 2-bed. He needs help to bring these over the final hurdle and get them operating. 

The farm has a solar pump, but it is not functioning – the solar panels were struck by lightning! 

The plan is to create a rain-water capture system, which will allow irrigation, thus doubling the crops. Patrick creates his own manure – this could be the basis for an anaerobic digester, which would generate electricity from the heat created by the manure. 

We will bring someone across from the UK (or elsewhere) who can assist with training for the lodges. Training would be given in management, maintaining standards, catering and so on. Wouldn’t be a great selling point to say that all the food was organic and 95% was grown within 5 kilometres of the lodges? 

Our team and his are jointly drafting a series of leaflets based on CRISPS – cash crop; rotation of crops; irrigation; solar, or seeds, or soil improvement; plough (automation of processes) or processing; and the other S will pick from the earlier list. We are having appropriate illustrations created locally. 

In order to fund this, we are chatting to a potential funder in Scotland. The digester would cost extra; otherwise the project could be done for £20,000.