Agricultural shows are central to development because they help to unlock the challenge of markets most farmers continue to face in Malawi.
This was said by Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Food Security Ulemu Chilapondwa during an agricultural show organised by Christian Relief Services (CRS) in Zomba last week.
â€œThese shows bring together a number of players in the countryâ€™s agricultural economy. You have service providersâ€”e.g the banks; you have sellers of different farms produces and chemicals, and you have the farmers themselves.
â€œSo, these shows provide a platform that widens farmerâ€™s knowledge about agriculture,â€ he said.
Chilapondwa also expressed satisfaction with the progress farmers in the country are making in diversifying their produce.
Speaking on behalf of CRS, which is implementing a programme on Wellness and Agriculture for Life Advancement (WALA), business team leader Gitau Mbure said his organisation is pleased with this yearâ€™s show.
â€œThis yearâ€™s show is quite a progress from last yearâ€™s. We have witnessed increased participation of players especially from the private sector. Again, we have also witnessed a number of farmers participating, not just those that are under our programmes,â€ he said.
During the shows, a number of farmers were given awards for good farming practices. Mwandama Village emerged the overall winner.
WALA is a five-year programme funded by USAID, with CRS Malawi as the grant holder. The programme began in July, 2009.
The objective of the programme is to improve food security of 214 974 chronically food insecure households in 39 Traditional Authorities (TAs) in eight districts in Southern Malawi by 2014.