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Sugarcane farmers urged to adopt irrigation system

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In the wake of extreme weather conditions which come with erratic rains, the National Sugarcane Growers Association (Sugam) has advised growers to embark on irrigation farming.

Chairperson of the association Frighton Njolomole said for the past two years, sugarcane production has been affected by climate change.

Sugam is currently holding a two-day International Sugar Conference in Lilongwe.

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Njolomole is of the view that investing in irrigation infrastructure is the best way to overcome dependency of rainfall which is often erratic.

“Last year we had floods in Chikwawa and Dwangwa, but after the floods, the rain stopped quite early. The same incident happened this year, so the best for us is to adopt irrigation system,” he said.

He further articulated the importance of farmers to engage into irrigation system saying this will allow farmers to produce more as compared to rain-fed agriculture which depends on the availability of rainfall.

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“Out-growers who are relying or irrigation are producing more than those depending on rain. The maximum they can go is 60 tonnes per hectare of sugarcane as compared to those people using irrigation system hey can produce a maximum of 120 tonnes,” he explained

Dir e c tor of Crop Development in the Ministry of Agriculture, Godfrey Ching’oma, while recognising the dynamic environment growers are operating in, said the conference will expose farmers to the information in regards to factors that are affecting the industry.

“There are about 3500 farmers, for them to participate effectively there is need to understand internal and external factors that influence the sugar industry in Malawi. We cannot properly adapt to the global environment unless we have the information about the sugar industry,” he said.

The two day conference is being held under the theme “Building Sugarcane Out-growers Resilience to the Changing Environment”

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