Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs) are promoting the production of area specific fertilizer with the aim of increasing productivity and incomes among smallholder farmers in Malawi.
The strengthening fertilizer systems through promotion of area specific blending project is being implemented with technical and financial support from Alliance from a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).
The project is also complementing the Agriculture Sector Wide Approach (ASWAp-SP II) project by targeting the districts not targeted by ASWAp-SP.
Among the organizations include Department of Land Resource Conservation (DLRC) under the Ministry of Agriculture and Water Development, Africa Fertilizer Agribusiness Partnership (AFAP) and Story Workshop Educational Trust (SWET).
During a briefing session with Fertilizer Association of Malawi (FAM) and private sector in Lilongwe on Thursday, DLRC Senior Land Resources Conservation officer Kefasi Kamoyo said the project will catalyse the production of appropriate soil and crop specific fertilizer blends for increased productivity and incomes among smallholder farmers in Malawi.
“We want to complement blending area specific fertilizer formulations in eleven districts such as Lilongwe, Mchinji, Kasungu, Dedza, Mzimba, Ntchisi, Phalombe and Ntcheu among others,” he said.
He claimed that despite agriculture being the major contributor to the nations’ economy and food security, the sector faces major productivity challenges emanating from continued use of poor agricultural practices.
He added that national soil nutrient deficient maps and area specific fertilizer blends will strengthen fertilizer system and supply chain including creating awareness on new fertilizer blends and increased adoption of appropriate fertilizer blends.
He pointed out that Department of Agriculture Research Services (DARS) and Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR) will finalize soil analysis and development of soil nutrient deficiency maps.
SWET Senior Production Manager, Zee Chunga said they will raise awareness and promote adoption of the existing recommended blanket fertilizer blend and the soon to be developed area specific fertilizer blends.
He added that 66,000 smallholder farming households will benefit directly and over 800,000 farming families will be equipped with knowledge on improved fertilizer blends.
In a separate interview, Principal Soil and Plant Nutrition Scientist for Chitedze Agricultural Research Station, Dr. Moses Munthali said cultivation of crops without fertilization results into very low crop yields.
“We need to revise soil fertility maps and develop area specific fertilizer recommendations in various areas due to decline in soil levels of some macro and micro nutrients over application and under application of fertilizers,” he said.
He said plans showing the distribution of various soil nutrient elements have been produced for the 28 districts, 193 Extension Planning Areas (EPAs) eight agriculture development divisions and the nation.
However, he said there are still gaps of micro elements which have not been analysed yet for Likoma and partially Mzimba but it’s progressing well.