Some farmers in Kasungu have switched from tobacco growing to orange-fleshed sweet potatoes and Irish potato farming, saying it is more profitable.
The development follows the introduction of improved varieties of orange-fleshed sweet potatoes and Irish potatoes in the country by International Potato Centre under the Kulima Project.
In an interview, a former tobacco farmer, Jaka Mpani of Chisazima Village in Senior Chief Kaomba in Kasungu, said he was making profits from potato farming.
He said: “In 2019, I switched to sweet potato farming and my life has changed.
“I have bought an ox-cart, two donkeys and I have a shop.”
Another farmer, Chimwemwe Mhango from Matemanga Village in Traditional Authority Nyaluwanga, has also found a new lease of life in Irish potato farming.
“In 2019, I started Irish potato farming as a seed multiplier and sold the seed which fetched a lot of money,” he said.
International Potato Centre research technician David Nthobwa said they want farmers to embrace potato farming.
“We have new varieties and we want them to be available to farmers in the country,” he said.
Orange-fleshed sweet potatoes are rich in beta-carotene and vitamin A.
The varieties were bred in Malawi by the Department of Agriculture Research Services.