Trustees of Agricultural Promotion Programme (Tapp) has urged farmers in Ntchisi District to keep and grow local seed varieties to harvest bumper yields.
Speaking during a seed and food fair at Makanda Primary School ground in the district on Friday, Tapp head of programmes Winfred Chanza said it is only when farmers keep different local seed varieties that they can become self-reliant.
He said: “Keeping and growing local seed varieties and agro-biodiversity are very important as they help farmers to realise more harvest from a small piece of land.
“The seed and food fair was important because farmers brought different varieties of local seed and local varieties of food and livestock. They also shared seed, [learnt] how to keep and make local food and [taught each other] best ways of how to keep livestock. It was a learning process in food and crop diversification.”
Chanza said apart from helping farmers to practise conservation agriculture, his organisation also trains farmers in livestock farming to generate income from farm produce.
Ntchisi district agriculture crops officer Gloria Lidamlendo commended Tapp for organising the seed and food fair, saying hybrid seed varieties cannot breed without local seed varieties, hence the need to have seed banks for local seed varieties.
During the ceremony, Tapp also presented gifts such as bicycles, wheelbarrows, pangas, fertiliser and maize seed, among others, to lead farmers and follower farmers.
With funding from the Development Fund of Norway, Tapp is working with farmers in Chipuka and Kanjiwa extension planning areas (EPA) in the district.