Synthesis Agriculture, one of the country’s agricultural firms, has launched farmer trainings aimed at reviving the high-value banana and paprika production which is said to have slumped in recent years.
While paprika has been facing production challenges coupled with poor markets, bananas have in recent years been attacked by banana bunchy top (BBT) disease which affected output.
On Saturday, farmers were trained on high-value banana and paprika production as cash crops for agriculture diversification and economic development to benefit farmers and the country at large.
Synthesis Agriculture managing director Dickson Kilowe said they want to revive banana and paprika production in Malawi; hence, the theme Restoring the Lost Glory in Banana and Paprika Production in Malawi.He said: “We have lost almost all banana
plantations in the country due to banana bunchy top disease, resulting in continued importation of bananas from neighbouring countries.
“So, we thought it wise as Synthesis Agriculture to call upon willing farmers to train them on banana and paprika high-value production so that they can produce more for both local and international markets.”
Kilowe said the analytical production studies they conducted, a hectare (ha) of banana could rake in K100 million while a hectare of paprika can earn a farmer between K2 million and K4 million annually.
He said they are targeting 500 farmers nationwide, but in the 2019/20 growing season, as a first phase, they envisage to work with 100 farmers on 100 ha for banana production and another 100 ha for paprika production.
Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources horticultural expert and lecturer Mvuyeni Nyasulu said farmers were trained on the management of the banana bunchy top disease.
He said: “Farmers have been trained on how they can manage and control the BBT disease, which wiped out almost all the bananas in the country.
“They have also been trained on how best to produce high-value bananas to suit market needs.”
Of late, there has been mushrooming of firms that are venturing into crop diversification drive targeting both local and international markets.
A good number of the participants are into the production of high-value horticultural crops.