Blantyre ADD Field Day: Government insists on modern agriculture technologies

Agriculture stakeholders need to generate technologies that are climate smart and area specific to ensure that there is sustainable agricultural production, former Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, Kondwani Nankhumwa has said.

Nankhumwa: We must adopt and implement integrated farming systems
Nankhumwa said field days are essential in disseminating agriculture technologies, good agricultural practices and in restoring banana production,
Dr. George Chaponda (L) accompanied Nankhumwa to the field day

“We must adopt and implement integrated farming systems such as crop-livestock integration, fisheries, agroforestry, Conservation agriculture that ensures recycling of resources and nutrients,” Nankhumwa said at Mthiramanja Court Ground in Mulanje on March 13, 2020 during the Blantyre Agriculture Development Division (ADD) 2019/2020 Summer Field Day.

He noted that through research, several technologies have been generated over the years that are key to sustainable food, nutrition and income security.

According to the former minister, some of the technologies include conservation agriculture, agroforestry, integrated pest management, growing of drought tolerant crops such as sweet potatoes and cassava, planting of improved, high yielding and early maturing varieties, revitalization of banana industry, production of small stock such as poultry, goats and sheep and enterprise diversification.

“Allow me to appreciate extension services in ensuring that technologies generated by research are adopted by farmers. Let me urge famers both smallholder and commercial to adopt these technologies and continuously be in contact with extension officers in their agriculture business in order to realize increased and sustained production in the face of climate change,” he said.

Nankhumwa said field days are essential in disseminating agriculture technologies, good agricultural practices and in restoring banana production, which has declined over the years.

Blantyre ADD showcased several technologies and good agriculture practices aimed at helping farmers in the ADD and the country to increase and sustain agricultural production and productivity through the Field Day.

The Field Day’s theme was “Agriculture Enterprise Diversification, Partnerships and Revitalization of Banana Industry; Key to sustainable Food, Nutrition and Income Security”.

“May I encourage all ADDs, Districts and EPAs to hold Field Days frequently to keep farming households in touch with emerging technologies and Good Agricultural Practices.

“A Field Day is one of among several strategies that the ministry uses to reach out to many farmers. We encourage ADDs, Research Stations, NGOs and districts to patronize Field Days conducted by fellow agriculture offices and for districts to enable and support many farmers to participate to learn and appreciate what their fellow farmers are implementing. This is an old methodology that has proven to be effective in increasing adoption of agriculture technologies for sustainable and increased production and productivity. Further, integrated approach in agriculture production ensures efficient use of resources,” he said.

During the Field Day, Nankhumwa toured four sites – Thuchila RTC Mega Banana Nursery, Umodzi FFS Maize Variety Trial in Majiya Village, Thuchila EPA, Romwa Standard Khola for Dairy Cattle and Goats, and Banana Orchard owned by Senior Chief Mthiramanja of Mulanje.

He thank all stakeholders who supported this function.

Nankhumwa finally noted that most districts had experienced good rains and that country is expecting to have harvest more than last year.

“Let’s manage what we will harvest. Ensure that we keep adequate food crops to last for the entire year for our households and if we have excess we can then sell for cash,” he advised.

Some high-profiled people that accompanied the former minister included Member of Parliament (MP) for the area, Mulanje Southwest, Dr. George Chaponda, Secretary for Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, Gray Nyandule Phiri and Senior Chiefs Mthiramanja and Chikumbu, among others.

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