The African Institute of Corporate Citizenship (Aicc) has said rice farmers have the potential to increase production if they adopt good agricultural practices and use herbicides to control weeds in their fields.
Aicc project manager responsible for rice production Leonard Chimwaza made the remarks on Friday in Karonga during a field visit to Mphinga Rice Irrigation Scheme in the district.
He said farmers do not achieve their potential to maximize rice production because they incur high costs during weeding.
Chimwaza said his organisation partnered Farmers Organisation Limited (FOL) to supply herbicides that kill weeds in rice fields so that farmers reduce weeding costs, thereby enhancing production.
“Rice is one of the strategic crops, and we appreciate the huge investments and costs that farmers incur during production of the crop which affect their profit margin in the end.
“Therefore, through National Agriculture Investment Plan and private public partnership [PPP],we have partnered organisations that promote value chain of rice, such as FOL, to supply weed herbicides to ensure increased rice production in Malawi,” he said.
FOL business manager Sangani Harawa said his organisation understands that there is proliferation of counterfeit chemicals and herbicides in the country, hence their involvement in supplying farmers with the recommended herbicides such as 2-4-D.
“We are impressed with the impact registered from the rice demonstration fields where farmers used our herbicides and we encourage more farmers to adopt and use agricultural chemicals and herbicides certified by the government,” he said
Mphinga Rice Irrigation Scheme secretary Chimzuzu Gondwe thanked Aicc and FOL for introducing the rice herbicides which he said would go a long way in increasing profit margins among the farmers.