Cucumber Cultivation in Ulumba
Project Launch: 12-27-18
Ulumba is a rural part of Zomba District in Eastern Malawi. The area is struggling with challenges such as food insecurity, insufficiency, and malnutrition which are attributable to the high poverty rate and inadequate knowledge and limited skills adoption of optimal nutritional practices at the household level.
It is against this background that Zomba Urban Women Association (ZUWA) proposes a project for the intensification of the cultivation of Cucumis sativus (cucumber). The project aims to support 240 households attain stability in terms of food security and dietary sufficiency at the household level, increase the nutrition level of the local population throughout the year, and improve its socioeconomic status through the sale of the fruits and vegetables.
Project Update: 3-11-19
After three months of implementation, the Cucumber Cultivation in Ulumba project trained 36 lead farmers to establish 36 cucumber gardens in five villages. All the farmers were trained and gained knowledge in cucumber cultivation, agri-business, and environmentally friendly methods of growing cucumbers. The farmers planted over 900 cucumber seedlings and 80% germinated, grew and produced cucumbers as expected. The project actually faced a challenge of too much rains, which affected the growth of the cucumbers in some gardens. At the start of the harvest season, a total of 1,468 cucumber fruits have been harvested and sold in various market outlets including small lodges and supermarkets. It is projected that 3,000 cucumbers will be harvested and sold by May 2019, which will contribute to improved income levels for the farmers from an average of $10 per month to $25 per month. The participants are happy with the project citing that the money generated from the sale of the cucumbers has helped them purchase household necessities, and that they are hopeful more money will enable them become self-reliant, especially as they continue working on the project through the summer.
Final Report: 6-6-19
The Intensifying Cucumber Cultivation in Ulumba project was completed after 50 women and 20 young men were trained in cucumber farming and management. After the training, the participants grew cucumbers in 36 gardens (26 gardens for women and 10 gardens for young men) established in five villages. A total of 35 community farmers were trained to take a leading role in managing the gardens from which 53 bags of cucumbers weighing 50Kgs were harvested and sold by the participants. The project has improved the participants’ average monthly income from $10 to $25, subsequently improving their way of living and availability of basic needs. The project has also provided a nutritious source of food to the community members who consume the cucumbers raw and in salads thereby improving their health. Meanwhile, the participants are investing some of their proceeds in village saving and loan groups which will continuously supply them with funds for sustaining their households.