Most people do not know that vegetables are good for our health and the nutrients they contain play a big role in the restoration of the body.
Vegetables are source of vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, folate, potassium and fiber. The health benefits of eating vegetable-rich diet are numerous. Research points to lower risks for heart disease, skin and eye problems, obesity, cancer, kidney stones, stroke, and type 2 diabetes and bone loss disorders. For health mothers and fetuses, pregnant mothers have to eat plenty of vegetables. However iron and folate found in vegetable helps to improve fatal and maternal circulation.
Parent and Child Health Initiative (PACHI) through SANI Project is encouraging families to establish backyard/homestead gardens for vegetables through integrated homestead faming (IHF). Many families in Ntchisi especially of traditional authority Kalumo have started establishing these gardens as part of promoting nutrition at household level.
On 19 July, 2018 Visitors from CARE Canada had a chance to appreciate on what PACHI is doing in Ntchisi in regards to Integrated Homestead Farming. Audrey on behalf of the visitors urged the people of the area to adopt this to ensure that vegetables are available throughout the year. Through the IHF trainings, PACHI is also encouraging the communities of Ntchisi to plant vegetables like local rape (Kamganje), amaranthus (bonongwe), cat whiskers (Luni) and black jack (chisoso) because of their high sources of nutrients.
Christina Mazola of Kalumo village is one of the beneficiallies for SANI project which is being implemented by PACHI in the area. During the event, Christina explained to the visitors that her family is benefiting much from these vegetables nutritionally and as a source of income. “I sell these vegetables and get money which I use for the family needs,” said Christina.
Canadian visitors appreciating Christina Kazola’s garden at Kalumo, Ntchisi
It is also important to share with you some steps to follow when preparing these backyard gardens. Make your seed bed (nursery bed), sow your seeds, mulch the beds with grass. Watering should be done on daily basis until the seeds germinate and reach the point of transplanting. Before transplantation, make sure you have made some beds. Mix its soil with manure and make sure that all the beds are watered well and are wet. Daphne in blue gloves, is uprooting the seedlings from nursery bed to a new bed where Nancy in green sweater is planting as shown in the picture below. Soon after transplanting, the bed is mulched with grass and watering is done immediately to prevent wilting of the seedlings. Lastly, make sure you water your garden twice every day, in the morning and evening.
Audrey watering the planted seedlings
PACHI is implementing the Southern Africa Nutrition Initiative project in Ntchisi and Dowa with support from the Canadian government through Care Malawi.