Malawi government has said the country is still far from achieving its required national food basket as Malawi is currently producing less than three million metric tonnes of maize against the total estimated agricultural population of 18 million.
Agriculture Minister Alan Chiyembeza spoke on Friday during the launch of National Campaign of Manure, Irrigation and Fodder held at Bwengu in Mzimba.
Chiyembekeza said the country is failing to meet the demand of food for the total country’s population because of poor rains due to climate change and high prices of farm inputs and materials.
He said the use of common Bocash, pellets and windron manure in farming than fertilisers can change the current yield for farmers apart from engaging themselves in irrigation farming.
“It is sad that there is still low turn up of farmers practising manure farming despite several interventions to encourage them on the benefits they get from manure. With the current situation we cannot achieve more produce at national level as it is required” Chiyembekeza said.
He said farmers are adopting the manure initiative at low pace because the actual process seems complicated and it needs extension workers to continue demonstrating in rural areas.
On irrigation farming, Chiyembekeza commended Traditional Authority Jalavikuba for a five-hectare Chindimbanda Irrigation Scheme and others which he said will change the livelihood of many families after their crop harvest.
“Currently we have the maize decline of 30.2 percent. This is a new report and it is different from what we projected last time of 29.9 percent.
We still need maize and that is why we are encouraging farmers to go for irrigation as well as manure farming,” said Chiyembekeza
Member of Parliament for the area, Agnes Nyalonje said government should invest much in education saying the current children will understand better in future the farming using available local resources and irrigation.
Nyalonje said some people shun the manure farming because it is a new initiative by government and other stakeholders, championed to change them from using chemical fertilizer.
Mzuzu Agriculture District Division Programmes Manager Agnes Moyo said the initiative can work better if many agriculture extension officers are deployed to demonstrate to farmers on the fodders
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