As the next growing season draws nearer, Community Initiative for People Empowerment (Cipe) has advised farmers to diversify their farming techniques if they are to beat effects of climate change.
Cipe chairperson Trintas Manda, noted that one of the major contributing factors to subsistence farmers’ failure to yield enough for themselves is use of old farming techniques.
Manda said climate change has further compounded the problem.
She took advantage of a market day at Kapopo Trading Centre in Mzimba to address farmers on the effects of climate change on agriculture.
The meeting was graced by Sub-Traditional Authority (S-T/A) Kapopo Mhlanga.
“Weather and rainfall pattern have completely changed. As such, it is important that farmers should adjust to new methods of farming to beat effects of climate change,” said Manda.
Manda also said farmers can still maximise their production if they adopted new methods of farming such as irrigation, winter-cropping and greenhouses.
She noted that in countries where land is scarce, irrigation farming, winter-cropping and greenhouses have proven to be effective tools for fighting hunger and poverty as the methods allow farmers to produce using the outer space.
“Greenhouse is a light structure with the sides and roof mainly of glass, for rearing plants. And using these structures, I believe landless farmers can still produce crops such as tomatoes, potatoes and groundnuts even where the rainfall has been erratic.
“Weather experts are nowadays emphasising on the need to stop relying on rain-fed agriculture because rains are becoming unreliable. As such, greenhouses can help farmers produce even if rains didn’t do well that year,” she said.
Manda also said these methods could also help farmers build resilience to effects of climate change such as dry spells since they do not depend on rainfall.
Mhlanga commended Cipe for taking the initiative to sensitise his subjects on the need to diversify farming techniques amid devastating effects of climate change.
He explained that his area does not have extension workers who can advise farmers on what to do prior and during the growing season.
“I hope my subjects will take this advice seriously. It is critical to beating hunger in the area; hence, everyone needs to make good use of it,” said the chief.
Cipe is a local non-governmental organisation (NGO) working to improve livelihoods of Malawians in Mzimba and Kasungu through civic empowerment.