Dave off to Malawi to start sowing Government funding

Dave Alsop is due to fly out to Malawi on August 15.

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Seil man Dave Alsop flys out to Malawi next month with a £60,000 promise of help from the Scottish Government.

Mr Alsop, who started the Seed For Life project, will spend 10 days fact-finding, looking for ways of putting the money to best use.

The government award is being spread over three years by the project that helps Bemvu farmers in the Ntcheu province reclaim wasteland by providing them with seeds to grow crops.

Mr Alsop, who runs the project with the help of trustees and supporters, says the funding means huge expansion for the charity, which also feeds school children daily.

‘Now we are getting that funding it’s a whole new ball game for us as to what more we can do to make a difference,’ he said.

When he flies out on August 15, Mr Alsop will be looking at what seeds are needed ready for planting for the next harvest and for useful stores.

The charity’s idea is to eventually get its farmers to be self-sustaining so they are not reliant on outside funding to feed themselves.

Once that is achieved, there many be other projects, such as bringing in electricity, and there’s only one pump in the village with water.

Since it began in 2017, the Scottish Charitable Incorporated organisation (SCIO) has been sending the area money to help buy seeds and fertilisers, getting small-holder farmers started. It began out of a partnership project between Netherlorn churches and the Bemvu community in 2011, helping widows of AIDs victims.

Difficult growing conditions were experienced but more than 65 tonnes of extra maize was  harvested last year, which the people of Bemvu would not have had without the project. Mr Alsop said it was a ‘great result’.

Through the project, Seed For Life  has been feeding more than 1,000 school children a day. The SCIO has also been working on a tree planting programme which they hope will ultimately help provide fruit and fuel.

Mr Alsop said it was a worthy cause and more support was still needed to bring in more funds.

Anyone interested in giving support should go to seedforlife.org.uk for details on how to make a donation.