Local Government Minister, Kondwani Nankhumwa, has said government is negotiating with the International Fund for Agriculture Development for an extension to the Commercialisation of Smallholder Beef Producers project.
The project budgeted at K250 million is being implemented in Karonga, Chitipa and Rumphi districts by Rural Livelihoods Economic Enhancement Programme (Rleep) under his ministry.
Speaking after meeting 72 farmers under Nkhamanga Livestock Club for Lufita Extension Planning Area who are involved in the cross breeding of local cattle, Nankhumwa said the programme has the potential to transform rural people’s livelihoods.
“We are hopeful that as the programme ends sometime in December, next year, the donors will make a commitment.
“We, however, are relying on the extension workers to continue guiding farmers on how best the programme can be sustained,” he said.
He also expressed the possibility of expanding the project to other areas to benefit more farmers.
A total of 3,000 smallholder farmers are expected to benefit from the programme.
The farmers are drilled in animal heat detection and crossing using artificial insemination.
Rleep National Programme Director, Dickson Ngwende, said farmers have gained skills that will easily be sustained beyond the programme’s period.
“The project is not once-off but rather will remain here for a long time considering that farmers have a ready market with Nyama World who are also facilitating the acquisition of cattle from South Africa for cross-breeding with the local Zebu,” said Ngwende.
Under the programme, farmers will be selling the cross breeds to Nyama World at a price that is almost 10 percent higher than the market price
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