The gift of a goat can make a big difference in improving a farming family’s life in Malawi where the impacts of climate change present a stark challenge for communities already struggling to make do.
Fanny Chigamba and Wyson Kalembo. They received two goats in November 2017 and training in how to care for them. Since then their goat breeding has gone from strength to strength. Photo: Karen McHugh/Trócaire.
Increase in goats leads to growth in crops
Wyson and Fanny received their goats from Trócaire partner Cadecom Malawi in November 2017. Fanny Chigamba says ‘we got two goats at first. Then we passed on the offspring to other families.We received training in how to look after the goats and help making the goat Kraal’ where the goats are kept.
With the goat Krall, they can capture the manure which they are using on their crops. Fanny says they are now harvesting more as it helps keep the moisture.
Fanny Chigamba holds one of her family's goats, Machinga, Malawi.Photo: Alan Whelan/Trócaire.
Goats can produce up to four litres of milk a day so families like Wyson and Fanny can make money selling the excess milk. Goats can also give birth to kids twice a year. The income earned from these goats help to improve a family’s diet, and pay for education and healthcare.
Wyson says, ‘The weather has become a lot more unpredictable and unreliable. As a community, we are trying to adapt to climate change with tree nurseries and drought resistant crops.’
Small Malawian farmers like Fanny and Wyson face a steep challenge. As climate change in Malawi has led to an increase in extreme, intense rainfall and flooding and an increase in hot days and dry periods. The country is currently on track for five degrees of global warming this century without a radical reduction in carbon emissions.
Thanks to the support of Irish Aid they received seeds to grow sorghum and cassava, both drought resistant.
Irrigation having a big impact for 44 families
The family have also benefited from an irrigation scheme for 44 families in the village. They have used the money they made from crops grown with the irrigation scheme to buy more goats.
They also have some land where they grow rice and have used this to buy two cows. Their rice production started fifteen years ago with the help of Cadecom who provided the rice seeds. Fanny says they hope to build a better house for themselves some day.