My family arrived in Japan last week and I am now spending less time online because I am yet to connect the Internet to my new home. The only time when I come online is when I am in the lab at the University. As a result, the last time I wrote an article on this blog is 10 days ago. Today, I am bouncing back with some good news from my home area.

Last week, the Daily Times reported that farmers in coffee growing districts of Rumphi, Mzimba and Chitipa (a.k.a. the Land of Mzuzu Coffee) have diversified their production to venture into wheat cultivation.This development has been facilitated through a MK200 million grant from the European Union (EU) funded Farm Income Diversification Programme (FIDP).It is further reported that farmers have for the past year been receiving 40 tonnes of wheat seed, grown over 500 hectors of land.The Chief Executive of Mzuzu Coffee Planters’ Cooperative Union, Harrison Kalua, said they are more than prepared to invest in wheat flour processing if they register sustainable production of wheat from predominantly coffee growing areas.

As someone who comes from Rumphi, I am pleasantly surprised with this development. I never knew that this area has the potential for wheat cultivation. I am now eagerly looking forward to the establishment of a wheat flour processing plant in the area in the near future. I would also like to encourage the Mzuzu Coffee Planters’ Cooperative Union to consider commercializing the other common farm produce from this area.  Apart from coffee, this area is rich in irish potatoes, pineapples, vegetables, beans etc. When I went home five years ago, I saw a number of young people carrying bags of tomatoes from Uzumala to Phwezi for sale. I was told that they were making a good income. On lighter note, with the diversification that is going on, the Mzuzu Coffee Planters’ Cooperative Union should start looking for a new name.