Farmers Union of Malawi (FUM) has expressed satisfaction with the outcome of a crop diversification programme the union implemented to help farmers plant different crops yearly.
The programme, which was launched three years ago, has benefitted farmers across the country as they are now able to harvest different crops in large quantities.
In an interview yesterday, FUM president Alfred Kapichira Banda said the programme has enabled farmers to be more knowledgeable about crop diversification and helped them reap the benefits of the diversification programme.
“The programme is a success as farmers are now able to plant crops throughout the year and make money from it. We help them find the best markets for their produce so that they can sell at good prices,” he said.
Banda also said the farmers, who are put in groups, procure seeds from SeedCo Company Limited on contract basis to plant throughout the year.
“Go around the villages and check how the farmers are faring; you will see that they are able to produce different crops anytime as they easily access seeds from SeedCo which helps them a lot,” he said.
He further said farmers are now able to buy fertilisers close to their homes unlike in the past, describing it as part of their strengthening of agricultural input and output markets.
“At first farmers used to buy fertilisers at agro-dealers but now they are able to access them at the nearest places to them as they are transported to the rural areas which also makes it easy for them to plant yearly,” Banda said.
Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture chairperson Joseph Chidanti Malunga said crop diversification is ideal.
He said with climate change, it would be unrealistic for farmers to depend on one crop only.
“As a concept it is very important because farmers will not depend on one crop only, bearing in mind these climate change issues. It is a programme that will benefit the agricultural sector a lot on a larger scale,” Malunga said.
During a crop assessment tour last year, the then minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development Allan Chiyembekeza encouraged farmers to go into crop diversification, saying it would be a waste of time to rely on maize only. n