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Improved seed varieties to increase productivity

By Audrey Kapalamula:

Authorities have expressed optimism that 50 enhanced varieties of seeds, promoted through Malawi Improved Seed Systems and Technologies (FtF MISST), would improve agricultural productivity in the country.

The $25 million project was implemented in 10 districts for a four-year period to reduce poverty and hunger and contribute to agri-sector growth in the country.

FtF MISST Chief of Party, Naomi Kamanga, said, through the project, stakeholders have also developed a product called Aflasafe to reduce food contamination in groundnuts and maize, thus making it attractive to international buyers.

“We have also done some research work where we have developed a product, a Aflasafe which mitigates aflatoxins in maize and groundnuts.

“This has been a barrier to groundnuts trade in Malawi over the years but this project has come up with a solution that may change the economic direction for small holder farmers,” Kamanga said

Other improved seeds include orange fleshed sweet potatoes, sorghum millet, groundnuts, pigeo peas and soybean.

Controller of Agriculture Services in the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, Masankho Bulirani, said the seeds are resilient to diseases and drought, with additional nutritive value and high yield.

“It is a very important programme. It fits in the national agriculture investment plan and it is coming straight in the important pillars where we are looking at how a smallholder farmer can become resilient, produce quality crop as well have markets.”

Chairperson of Seed Traders Association, John Lungu, welcomed the varieties, saying they broaden their horizon in business.

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