Opportunity international launches crop diversification program in Malawi

Opportunity International in Collaboration with the Agricultural Transformation Initiative (ATl) has introduced a new program aimed at reducing farmers’ reliance on tobacco.

ATI is a core pillar of the foundation for a smoke-free world whose objective is to improve global health by ending smoking in the current generation while OI is a global microfinance non-profit organisation committed to ending extreme poverty and promoting education for families in need.

One of the farmers under Horizon Farm’s out-grower schemes gives OI & ATI officials a tour of his irrigated farm.

The program which is underway in the Lilongwe and Mchinji districts provides technology-enhanced finance and training extension for tobacco farmers.

Head of Agriculture at Opportunity International Tim Strong said that the program addresses capital and resource barriers, access and training for alternative value chains development of business plans for women and smallholder farmers.

Strong added that it stipulates supply and demand for farmers working with alternative crops as well as offers access to capital for farmers to expand business through the trainings.

“Opportunity International has been partnering with smallholder farmers in Malawi for 15 years, farmers choice underpin our work and together with our partners we look forward to co-investing with our clients,” he explained.

However, Strong expressed concern over challenges that women face in Malawian tobacco farming which includes insufficient loans, crop selection biases among others.

On her part, Country Director for ATI Candida Nankhumwa said they are dedicated to the efforts supporting of smallholder farmers to diversify crop portfolio.