Bio-fertiliser test project begins
By Wezzie Gausi:
The National Commission for Science and Technology (NCST) in collaboration with Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (Luanar) on Thursday launched a pilot phase of bio-fertiliser production.
This comes after the World Intellectual Property Organisation (Wipo) gave a nod to Malawi to access some of the new technologies in its database regarding fertiliser and replicate them in Malawi.
NCST acting Director General Gift Kadzamira said the commission is thrilled to learn that the project encompasses some technology to produce fertiliser locally, with Luanar being the lead university.
She said the innovation is a game changer in the agriculture sector.
Secretary to the Treasury Macdonald Mafuta Mwale said it is a great honour for the country to launch a project whose target is to facilitate research, development and commercialisation of bio-fertiliser technology based on technical information found in patent documents.
He said in Malawi, a predominantly agriculture-based economy, it is unfortunate that the sector’s share to gross domestic product remained low at 25 percent.
He said elevated cost of production continues to affect capacity.
“However, in recent years, inflationary pressures on the economy and inadequate generation of forex have both led to unavailability of affordable fertiliser for crop production.
“The Government of Malawi is committed to continuing financing research, science, and technology and innovation sectors in the country through avenues such as the science and technology fund, among others,” Mwale said.
Luanar’s lead officer for the project, Kingdom Kwapata, said the application of science and technology in agriculture can tremendously transform the economy.
He said with how farmers are suffering to have fertilirer, having bio-fertiliser made locally will help a lot.
“These bio-fertilisers will first be implemented in a local village that surrounds Luanar for starters. After we register success, it’s when we can think of scaling up the innovation to other communities,” Kwapata said.
The making of bio-fertilisers falls under the project of facilitating transfer of appropriate technology in Malawi for community development through universities and research institutions.