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Farmers geared to tame fake seed use

ATTENTIVE— A cross section of farmers during the meeting

By Watipaso Mzungu:

As the 2019/20 growing season draws closer, Mitundu Extension Planning Area (EPA) in Lilongwe has said it is geared to fight the proliferation of fake seeds and fertilisers o§n the market.

Speaking on the sidelines of an Area Stakeholder Panel (ASP) on Thursday, Mitundu Agriculture Extension Development Coordinator (AEDC), Christopher Zaipa, said farmers in the area have, over the past years, failed to yield enough because they were using fake seeds bought from unscrupulous vendors.

Mitundu EPA is one of the structures the United States Agency for International Development (USaid) – funded activity, Strengthening Agricultural and Nutrition Extension (Sane), has partnered to strengthen involvement of local agriculture platforms in meaningful research activities that better address farmer’s needs.

The Sane activity is being implemented in 10 districts including Mchinji, Lilongwe rural, Dedza, Ntcheu, Mangochi, Balaka, Machinga, Blantyre rural, Chikwawa and Nsanje.

Zaipa said they had organised farmers in groups where each member of a group is requested to contribute a certain amount of money, which, in the end, is used to buying seeds from certified seed and fertiliser companies.

“Buying seeds and fertilizer in groups has helped a lot in their community because they are able to buy certified seeds and, at the same time, buy at a cheaper price. This helps farmers to have something that they can take home,” Zaipa said.

Secretary for Gaka Club, Isaac Chadza of Traditional Authority Chadza, said being in groups helped them raise money. Chadza said each member got four bags of seeds and 10 bags of maize at the end.

“We were contributing K100 each day for the whole year and managed to raise K4, 773, 000 and everyone got bags of seeds and fertiliser. As a farmer, I have I harvested 477 bags of maize and I believe that I will get a lot of money after selling some of it,” he said.

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