UK trained extension worker and farmer call for transformed farming in Malawi

An extension worker and a farmer from northern  lakeshore District of Karonga have said subsistence farmers in the country must be empowered to take up large-scale mechanised farming and livestock production in order to improve their incomes and livelihoods.

Mhango on arrival from UK
Phiri on arrival from UK

Charity Chimphamba Phiri and Knight Chambayika Mhango spoke at Kamuzu International Airport in the Capital Lilongwe on arrival from United Kingdom (UK) where they attended a 10 week training in sustainable farming at Harper Adams University.

Self Help Africa (SHA) in partnership with UK based Marshal Papworth Trust Fund organized the trip and training to enable Phiri and Mhango learn new sustainable farming technologies and innovations so that they can teach their Malawian counterparts to promote agriculture entrepreneurship among youths and women in the country.

“We need to emulate our colleagues in UK who do not only look at the immediate benefits of farming but also look at the long term benefits. Their farming activities are not harmful to the environment and to the health of human beings.

“Our friends take good care of the soils and plant trees that enrich the soils with nutrients necessary for the growth of crops. They keep livestock on large-scale and always produce enough beef, pork and pourtly which they supply to a readily available market,” said Phiri who works as a Development Facilitator with SHA in Karonga.

She added that the training has empowered her with information and skills to bring practical awareness on soil, crop water, agroforestry and livestock management among farmers and extension workers in her area in order to begin improving crop and livestock production.

Taking his turn, Mhango who is a lead farmer from Nyungwe in Traditional Authority Mwilang’ombe, commended the training, saying it has opened up his eyes to new methods of farming and farm management that will transform his farming for the better.

“No farmer uses a hoe in UK. They use farm machinery throughout. Some have their farms stretching out to 100 and 200 hacters which enables them to produce enough for food and for sell.

“I have also learned that our counterparts in UK are very serious about record and book keeping on their farms. This enables farmers to know how much they are investing or spending against what they are producing. This enables them to determine whether they are making any profit or progress,” said Mhango.

SHA is an International development organization headquartered in Ireland and the UK with operations in nine countries across East, Southern and West Africa.

In Malawi, SHA works with smallholder farmer associations, cooperatives and agribusinesses to help rural poor households to grow and sell more food, improve diets, diversify and grow incomes and make their livelihoods more sustainable and resilient to external shocks.

Every year, Self Help Africa selects candidates to receive the annual scholarship from the Marshal Papworth Fund, which enables the farmers and farm trainers from across sub-Saharan Africa to attend the agricultural and horticultural 10-week course in the UK.

Self Help Africa is partnering with the Marshal Papworth with the aim to deliver sustainable farming techniques to communities in sub-Saharan Africa.

Marshal Papworth helps students from developing countries to grow themselves out of hunger so that they and their fellow countrymen benefit from a more sustainable future.

This is done through the provision of agricultural and horticultural scholarships and helping students to develop practical skills and valuable knowledge to share within their local communities in order to meet future food needs for generations to come.

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