She is in her early 80s but still strong to cultivate for her survival.
Alife Gwaza is one such an admirable old woman whose life if emulated could help to bring change to some quarters of our society.
Born in 1936, Gwaza has 9 grandchildren from her six children.
She is a primary school dropout but a well-known farmer in Ngomani Village, Traditional Authority (TA) Thomas in Thyolo. She said ever since she was born, farming has been her life.
Even before she got married some 40 years ago her family was into serious farming. Today Gwaza, who, if not for her hardworking spirit could have been a renowned street beggar, but now she lives a happy life.
She owns 3 hectares of land of which 1 hectare has a tea plantation while the remaining 2 is where she grows her maize each and every year for food.
However for the many years she has been doing her farming, Gwaza says very little was realized.
One of the biggest challenges she noted and contributed to her poor yield is lack of finances to purchase farm inputs especially fertilizer to apply on her infertile land.
Though some tea estate companies within the area offered her an opportunity to get fertilizer on credit, her income was a major threat. Gwaza could only get few bags usually one bag for UREA and NPK and split them for her tea and maize garden.
“You can imagine that as big as the farm is but I could only afford two bags of fertilizer. This was far beyond what is recommended and no wonders I had a poor yield every year,” she explained.
The many challenges, Gwaza faced never weakened her hardworking spirit, she stayed focused and never allowed herself to jump into the streets as some of her age does.
“I feel so sorry for some people particularly men of my age who have abandoned their fields and are busy asking for help in the streets. We need to change that altitude and teach our children and grandchildren that hardworking pays and that the only way we can develop this nation is by playing our meaningful and productive roles,” Gwaza suggested, emphasizing that, no matter how troubled she will be, but never will she stretch her hands in the street.
Malawi is an agro based country, with most of its people being farmers. However, the country’s farming system leaves a lot to be desired as it is far away from reach.
To register success, there is a lot that needs to be done starting with the farmers themselves.
Among others, there is need for easy access and provision of farm inputs, presence of readily available markets of agricultural produce and introduction of the mechanized system
Source: Malawi News Agency – MANA