Story Workshop, a social and behavior change communication Organization has said only if farmers adopt new farming practices will they embrace new technologies that have been set to improve soil degradation.
According to Ministry of Agriculture Irrigation and Water Development, there is a general old blanket which wrongly assumes that all soils in the country have the same deficiencies and that there is a uniform approach to the problem.
Project officer for Mlimi Wozitsata III programme Zgololake Chunga said in an interview recently to members of the press that there is need for mindset change first before introducing new technologies to farmers as living them feel that the problems are the same will not help them adopt new technologies that go together with the type of soil they use.
“So much as we are an advocacy organization we believe that there is need for mindset change among farmers, yes we know the land is degraded, we can’t go flat out telling them to change fertilizers but also to take them to step by step to understand the processes, the farmers need to know their soil and differentiate it with that their friends,” he said.
Chunga said sometimes things don’t work out as expected when you are introducing new things because of lack of proper awareness, “This is why our organization comes in to tell the people what they are supposed to expect, we have brought a message that there is hope after degradation.”
Of recent the country’s soil is said to have degraded due to several factors including erosion and deforestation, a thing which has left the country to have less fertile land.
“Before introducing such specific fertilizers we would like to reach out to the farmers to tell them that there will be different fertilizers according to their soil, not everyone can use similar brands,” added Chunga.
Mlimi Ozitsata III programmes aim at informing farmers new farming practices in times where the soil has degraded, it is funded by African Fertilizer and Agri-Business Partnerships for a period of two years to 11 districts of the country.
The programme is aimed at strengthening fertilizer systems through promotion of site specific fertilizer blending in the country funded by Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).
Country rogramme manager for African Fertilizer and Agri-Business Partnerships, Fairness Thembulembu said her organization through implementing partners like Story Workshop and government are encouraging people to change farming practices and adopt new farming technologies.
“There was an analysis made that showed that some areas have had land degraded in zinc and that in others there was too much alkaline, in some other districts there are some other deficiencies so the interventions to take are different hence we need people to be aware,” she said.
Government through the Ministry of Agriculture Irrigation and Water Development set up soil mapping steering committee to facilitate the development of area-specific fertilizer recommendation countrywide.