CAT embarks on initiative to teach farmers soil amendment

The Centre for Agricultural Transformation (CAT) has embarked on an initiative aimed at teaching farmers how they can amend soil to improve soil fertility and maximize productivity.

Speaking in Lilongwe at CAT annual field day which took place at NRC, MacLeod Nkhoma who is the Executive Director for CAT, said as an organisation they are teaching farmers how they can amend the soil in their farms by using organic fertilizers that can be made locally.

“Farmers in the country are experiencing low yields due to soil degradation, hence the need for them to start amending soil and utilize other crop nutrition products which are cheaper than inorganic fertilizers.

“The first time we were farming on this demonstration farm, we discovered that the soils were extremely poor, the soils were totally degraded but we have done soil amendment using soil scientist and the soils have improved and as you can see the yields have come back,” explained Nkhoma.

According to Nkhoma, they believe farmers will be happy to learn about soil amendment and they have already started teaching farmers how they can do their own soil amendment and also utilization of other crop nutrition products.

In her remarks, Vice President for Foundation for a Smoke-Free World who is the Country Director for Agricultural Transformation Initiative (ATI) Dr Candida Nankhumwa said that in the four years they have been in Malawi, farmers that were introduced to improved technology has seen improvement in crop productivity and this has motivated them as donors.

She then stated that they will extend the program so that more farmers benefit from it.

Nakhumwa further noted that they are also focusing on business incubation and commercialisation with the aim of motivating farmers to grow a variety of crops that have readily available markets.

Shillah Kang’ombe from the Ministry of Agriculture Lilongwe ADD said that she is impressed with what CAT is doing, as it corresponds with the Malawi 2063 vision which includes Agriculture productivity and commercialization.

Kang’ombe also expressed satisfaction as CAT promoted soil amendments and this aligns with what ministry of agriculture is doing, encouraging famers to adopt the use of compost manure.

CAT annual Field Day brings together Famers from various EPAs across the country in an effort to teach the farmers and also showcase new farming technologies and techniques to maximize their produce.

The event was held under theme “Good Soils and Crop Diversification: Catalysts for Increased Agricultural Productivity”.

Some of the crops showcased at the smart farm include Soya beans, groundnuts, Bananas, rice, maize and many more.

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