Centre for Agricultural Transformation (CAT) is promoting new farming technologies to farmers and encouraging them to adopt the technologies in their own farms.
The initiative started last year and in Lilongwe it’s being implemented at Bunda and NRC Smart farms.
Speaking on Thursday 12 May, 2022 at Bunda smart farm, Centre For Agricultural Transformation Executive Director Macleod Nkhoma said they are promoting new farming technologies because they want farmers in Malawi to diversify and for the farmers to diversify they need to adopt the new technologies that are available.
“On cereals, we are showcasing maize and rice and on legumes we are showcasing soya beans, Groundnuts and beans and then we have other crops like sweet potatoes, irish potatoes and then we have bananas and on cereals again we also have this upland rice.
“So the idea is that when we talk about diversification, we shouldn’t talk in abstract, farmers should come here and see other alternative crops that we are talking about.
“The skills we are imparting to them with regards to crops that they can diversify into is that number one, they are benefiting in seeing how productive these alternative value chains are and it is also driving adoption,” said Nkhoma.
He added that they are happy that farmers are already adopting the technologies.
In his remarks, Farmers Union of Malawi (FUM) President Frighton Njolomole who was also the guest of honor at the event, urged farmers to adopt new technologies to increase their production and diversify to encounter effects of climate change.
He said this is not the time for farmers to be using a hoe.
“We definitely want the Country to invest in mechanical usage of tools for farming thats where we can actually do a big job, thats where we can say Malawi is doing fairly well in the farming of all these crops, this is the time. So here we have actually seen that there are new technologies that people are being exposed, the farmers that have actually come from different areas they will actually see all that, and when they go back home definitely they will also disseminate information what they have seen here at Bunda Smart farm,” said Njolomole.
Njolomole also said he was very impressed with what CAT is doing at the smart farm as it has potential to increase productivity.
The project that the Centre for Agricultural Transformation is implementing is being financed by Foundation for Smoke-Free World through Agricultural Transformation Initiative (ATI).
On her part, Dr. Candida Nakhumwa Vice President and Country Director of Foundation for a Smoke-Free World-ATI implored farmers to form groups to maximize production and benefits.
Nakhumwa also hinted that as Foundation for Smoke-Free World they are preparing farmers for a time when demand for tobacco globally is going down and the idea is to say farmers have to be able to transition to other alternatives and those alternatives have to be equally profitable and productive.
“For example, you have seen the technologies here, many people think you can only plant rice along the rivers or along the lake shore but what we are showcasing here is that we have varieties in Malawi that can do well upland. So the idea is to bring farmers here, let them appreciate technologies that they thought cannot do well in their areas and let them go out there and try them.
“Even Soya bean, it is something that one would think it is so obvious, but what we are doing here is actually to teach the farmers how to plant, planting population, how to use inoculant, which varieties to select and in doing so we are helping the farmers to increase their productity and then at the end of the day enhance their income,” said Nakhumwa.
Scores of farmers from across the country on Thursday 12 May, 2022 converged at CAT-Bunda Smart Farm to take part in a Farmer Field Day organized by CAT with its partners.
Approximately, 700 people that included farmers, primary and secondary students, and agricultural stakeholders took part in the event.
Centre for Agricultural Transformation (CAT) is an inclusive Science, Technology, and business incubation Centre of Excellence aimed at helping smallholder Malawian Farmers make economically viable, data driven decisions for diversifying their livelihoods. The CAT facilitates the development of new technologies, partnerships, and income opportunities to help farmers achive greater economic success.