Pyxus Agriculture Limited – a sister company of Alliance One Tobacco Malawi Limited – has advised smallholder tobacco farmers in Dowa to consider diversifying their agricultural produce in order to beat perennial hunger and financial problems in their families.
Apparently, the company is promoting crop diversification among smallholder tobacco farmers through provision of drip irrigation equipment to facilitate irrigation farming.
Officials from Pyxus Agriculture Limited visited some of the farmers in Madisi Zone to appreciate the successes and challenges the farmers are facing in the use of the modern methods of irrigation.
And speaking after his interaction with the farmers, Pyxus Agriculture Limited drip irrigation technician, McDonald Banda, said he was impressed with the progress the farmers are making both at embracing the technology as well as utilizing it to transform their social and economic livelihoods.
“Our company is very keen in promoting crop diversification through drip irrigation so that the smallholder tobacco farmers are self-sustaining even when tobacco has failed to fetch them the expected income. Our desire is to see them produce the range of crops two to three times per year,” said Banda.
He advised the farmers to select good crops that can fetch them more money on the market.
“And they should consider the crop pattern at the small piece of land. They should also consider the crop rotation and application of manure and the irrigated area. Lastly, they should control pests and diseases so that they yield bumper harvest,” he explained.
According to Banda, the farmers have wholeheartedly embraced the technology and that more farmers are asking for it in other areas.
“Our vision is to see more farmers adopting this technology. And we are ready to expand it to other areas,” narrated Banda.
Moses Phiri – one of the smallholder tobacco farmers who is using drip irrigation in Moses Village in Traditional Authority Chakhadza in Dowa – thanked Pyxus Agriculture Limited for introducing the technology in the area.
Phiri said the technology is ideal as it does not demand too much labour.
“This technology allows the farmer to do many tasks at the same time. I can assure you that when you come here next year, you won’t find me like I am today,” he said.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :