Karonga ADD launches manure, fodder and irrigation farming

Chitipa District Council has commended Karonga Agricultural Development Division (KRADD) for its commitment to promote  modern agricultural technologies which have potential to improve  crop and livestock production in Chitipa and Karonga Districts.

Ng’ambi: Vice Chairperson for Chitipa District Council

The commendation was made Friday by the Vice Chair person for Chitipa District Council, Councilor Jaster  J Ng’ambi when he presided over  2017 launch of manure and  animal fodder production and preservation  and irrigation farming at Kapoka Teachers Development Centre (TDC), in Misuku  Extension Planning Area(EPA), in the area of Chief Mwenemisuku, in Chitipa District.

This year’s Theme is ‘Attaining Sustainable Agriculture Transformation, through Manure, Irrigation and Fodder Preservation.’

Ng’ambi observed that the introduction of new techniques of compost manure making , animal fodder production and irrigation farming, which is not labour intensive, will go miles in helping farmers to maximize crop and animal production.

Said Ng’ambi, “The new agricultural technologies in manure making, fodder preservation and  irrigation farming, which we are all witnessing today are a big impetus for small holder farmers to boost crop and animal production, which will  eventually  make their households food secure and improved income levels.

According to Ng’ambi’ observation, most farmers continue to languish in abject poverty despite being in the crop and animal husbandry  activities for decades due to use of archaic  and environment unfriendly agricultural practices.

Like other districts, a bigger population of small holder farmers in Chitipa use mono cropping, recycle maize seed varieties and apply little or no synthetic fertilizers at all..

Some cultivate in river catchment areas and river banks, in search of fertile soils, while those with cattle commit their animals into free range grazing practice during lean periods, due to absence of fodder production and preservation skills,  all of which make farmers fail to realize maximum profit from labour intensive  farming activities.

During the function, officials and small holder farmers  toured a number of centers where farmers organized into groups are  producing manure and run maize and vegetable  irrigation schemes, for their  appreciation on the   wonders manure can do to crops, and fodder preservation sites.

What  stole the attention of many was the   technique to produce and preserve fodder, predominantly, from maize stalks and legume leaves, which are processed into  bales which are properly stored as animal feeds for  lean period.

Earlier, Karonga ADD Programme Manager, Agrey Kamanga said  government attaches a lot of importance to agriculture because the sector has great potential to improve food security and promote economic growth at house hold, community and national levels.

Kamanga, however, said  negative effects of climate change, such as erratic rains, serious dry spells and floods have  greatly interfered with the sector to consistently make small holder farmers food secure and to promote their house hold economy.

The PM, therefore, said it was in appreciation of the challenges that have come about with climate change that government is coaxing farmers to adopt new agriculture technologies  so that they should not feel the pinch of adverse weather conditions which frustrate agriculture production.

He said besides improving soil fertility, manure behaves like a sponge in its moisture retaining  capacity which makes crops, especially maize, to stand the test of dry spells, and still do better.

Said Kamanga, “ If small holder farmers can adopt manure making technologies and use pit planting system to grow maize, they are assured of realizing high yields, even in times when rains  are erratic or in times when dry spells strike.”

Chitipa District, which is touted as the food basket of the Northern Region, was severely hit by historical dry spells during 2015-2017 agricultural season, forcing  a bigger percentage of small holder farmers to  realize   miserable harvests that did not take most of them to the next harvesting season.

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