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Farmers challenged to be market-oriented

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Farmers have been urged to grow crops with high value if they are to make the most of their toil.

This was said on Monday during an agriculture fair hosted by Nkhata Bay District Council, which attracted over 30 organisations, cooperatives and other groups in the agriculture supply chain.

Speaking during the exhibition, Nkhata Bay District Council Director of Agriculture Beatrice Bakali asked farmers to avoid growing crops that are not marketable.

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Bakali further urged farmers in the district, where, like other parts, agricultural output has been affected by harsh weather conditions, to consider producing high yielding crops with high market value.

She said commercialisation of the agriculture sector could be attained if smallholder farmers were empowered to be making informed choices through the supply chain.

“We do not take holidays when it comes to farming. We grow crops in both the rainy and summer season. We grow bananas, maize, beans and many crops.

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“But now we have realised that the market is also crucial in farming and that is why this platform is meant to allow farmers to engage potential buyers so that they can cultivate market driven crops,” Bakali said.

Usisya Ward Councillor Brown Chizeze, who was the guest of honour at the fair, said elevated prices of fertiliser could be a setback this season.

Chizeze called on the government to consider investing more in training people in farming using organic manure.

“We are doing better in other crops but not maize which is the staple food. We need more training on organic manure production so that it replaces fertiliser. This can work if the government can invest more in such programmes,” Chitete said.

Farmers in Nkhata Bay District were touted to be good in horticulture and livestock farming.

Meanwhile, over 50 groups of farmers under five extension planning areas in the district have benefitted from Transforming Agriculture through Diversification and Entrepreneurship Programme, which is aimed at ensuring farmers are maximising profits from agribusiness initiatives.

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