Report on the Implementation of the Project Closing Ceremony

 

On 4th November 2016, the closing ceremony of the “Project for Better Livelihoods and Self-reliance of Farmers in Mzimba, Malawi,” which started on 7th March 2014 as a three-year project with the support of “Grant Assistance for Japanese NGO Projects” from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was held in the Chikangawa agricultural extension area, the project target area.

Background




 

This project was an overseas project that was started in September 2005 to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the establishment of JOCA. With the Ministry of Agriculture of Malawi as the counterpart agency, it was initiated in the Kazomba and the Chikangawa extension planning areas of Mzimba District in the Northern Region of Malawi.

This project can be divided largely into three phases from start to completion. In the first phase, the development of farmers’ leaders (referred to as “key farmers”), who promoted revitalization of the project’s target communities, was implemented with JOCA’s own funds from September 2005 to July 2009.



 

In the second phase from August 2009 to December 2012, with the support of “Grant Assistance for Japanese NGO Projects” from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, grouping of farmers was promoted, led by the key farmers whose goals were the sharing, dissemination, and extension of agricultural knowledge and skills.

Facilitation manuals and guidelines were prepared, and by handing over to the Ministry of Agriculture, the counterpart agency, an attempt was made to disseminate and expand nationally.

 



 

In addition, through moving ahead with expanding the production of cash crops (garlic) aiming to improve the level of cash income, at the same time, the strengthening of farmers’ groups and the level of farmers’ self-reliance became more stimulated. The third phase was implemented as a three-year project from March 2014 to March 2017 with the second round of support of “Grant Assistance for Japanese NGO Projects” from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It intended to establish a system to enable the project target farmers to become sustainably self-reliant, with the aim of transitioning from self-sufficient farmers to small-scale commercial farmers, including the implementation of mixed farming.

Although the current project will continue until 10th March 2017, which is the term of the support of “Grant Assistance for Japanese NGO Projects” from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the closing ceremony was held on November 4 as the farmers will be busy preparing for the cultivation and growing of maize, the staple food, and other rainy season crops towards the latter half of December. The rainy season usually starts in earnest after rainfall begins in the latter half of November according to the local climate, and lasts until the end of March. In addition, the intention is also to stimulate interest in project cooperation in the target communities, in people other than the target farmers, through holding the closing ceremony earlier than the actual completion date and focusing on the project completion, leading to promote its dissemination through entire target communities, and to provide the project with support for community involvement, although this will only be for the remaining period until completion.

Report on the Ceremony


Deputy Vice-Minister and Ambassador of
Japan receive harvested garlic from
farmers.

On Friday, 4th November 2016, the closing ceremony was held in the Kadawonda group which is one of the project implementation communities in the Chikangawa extension area. The plan for the closing ceremony was moved forward as the first to be held at the site so that those concerned could actually be aware of the project results. As a result, this group was determined as a community to hold the ceremony as it had a suitable open space in which to implement it, and the group had actively developed poultry farming, beekeeping, and rabbit breeding, and decided to build a storehouse as part of the zone activities.


Farmers with JOCA T-shirts

The guests invited to the ceremony included the Chief Director, Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, the counterpart agency; the represent for Director of Agricultural Extension Services; Programme Manager, Mzuzu Agriculture Development Division; Chief Agricultural Extension Officer, Mzuzu Agriculture Development Division; Assistant District Agriculture Development Officer, Mzimba South District Agriculture Development Office; responsible persons at each department of the Mzimba South District Agriculture Development Office; Agricultural Extension Development Coordinator and officer of Kazomba and Chikangawa; and the Ambassador and Special Assistant, Embassy of Japan in Malawi.

 

 


Intoroduction of activities by farmer.

Those from other organizations included the Deputy Resident Representative, JICA Malawi Office; Deputy Representative, FAO; and a Professor of the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources. In addition, a Parliamentarian from Malawi and a Traditional Authority for Kamphingo Sibande also participated. From JOCA Headquarters, Vice President Amida and Managing Director of International Operation Division Mr. Kodama attended.


 

The ceremony started with the arrival of the Chief Director, the Guest of Honour. As described in the outline, it began with a speech from Vice President Amida, followed by an inspection of the activities by the guests and speeches from the Traditional Authority for Kamphingo Sibande and Ambassador Nishioka. A speech from the Chief Director closed the ceremony.


Lunch session after the ceremony served by
farmers.

 

 

Vice President Amida explained the results of the project and expressed his gratitude for the cooperation of the Japan and Malawi governments.

Ambassador Nishioka said that the agricultural sector is an important sector for the Japanese government’s cooperation with Malawi and that JOCA’s cooperation, which started in 2005, promotes the self-reliance of farmers through its unique initiatives based on the development of human resources, and is expected to be a model that will be continuously developed through the ongoing activities of the key farmers that have been developed, even after completion of the project.

The Chief Director, Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development said that JOCA’s unique cooperation, which uses locally available resources and does not provide in-kind support for free, is compatible with the principles that the President has demonstrated to the nation and is an effective approach to sustainable development.

With regards to the mass media at the ceremony, Malawi Broadcasting Corporation, the Nation Newspaper (a national paper), the Department of Information attached to the Department of Agriculture of Mzuzu, and the Department of Information of Mzimba District were organized by those working for the project. Malawi Television aired the ceremony as national news both on the English and local language channels from 8:00 p.m. on November 6th and from 8:00 a.m. the following day (7th).

In addition, the Nation Newspaper published the news as Japanese agricultural cooperation with Malawi in its November 7th issue, the garlic exports of Mzimba were headlines in the November 9th issue, and an article on the closing ceremony representing public relations from people who worked on the project was in the November 12th weekend issue.

 

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