Tomatoes Feed The Bottom Line

Action for Progress, Malawi … The harvest is beginning to take place from the first season of tomato production at the Action for Progress greenhouses. AfP staff members worked together to development the plants, starting this project with little knowledge about raising tomatoes. However, over the course of just two months, they have gained a great deal of knowledge and farming experience through raising tomatoes. The upcoming bumper crop will testify to their teamwork and professionalism.

The program started at the AFP distribution center in mid to late May, with a grant from an Indiana group, POWER OF ONE, to the Malawi Project for the purchase and installation of two greenhouses. The Project offered to fund a request from AfP to use greenhouses to raise vegetables. What was born from this effort has been this effort to raise tomatoes. Destructive cyclone Freddy destroyed the major portion of the tomato crop in southern Malawi for another season, and the result has been the price of tomatoes reaching an all-time high.

Starting with a major part of the cost behind them, that of purchasing the greenhouses, the AfP team obtained a supply of good soil, placed it in clean properly ventilated bags, extended wires from the ceiling, and ran a water line from the wellhead to a location near the greenhouses. Each day the staff would work together as well as frequently consulting an agricultural expert in Mzimba, northern Malawi, who was conducting a similar project. The tomatoes thrived, and in just two months, the plants had reached the height of 7 to 8 feet from the floor. Ripening tomatoes hung in clusters like grapes in Napa Valley.

Meanwhile, another group in northern Indiana saw the potential in these greenhouses and supplied the Malawi Project with funds to purchase two more greenhouses. They now stand next to the first two just in time to participate in the next round of tomato production.

Just two months after the tomatoes were planted the harvest has begun and the public is open to buy them. Pictures are there of the women who have made the first purchases.

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