Rice farmers in Nkhotakota have bemoaned lack of markets for their produce, saying this was frustrating their efforts to increase production.
The farmers said this on Friday during a field day organised by Cisp, a non-governmental organistation, at Wozi and Traditional Authority Malengachanzi in the district.
During the field day, farmers showcased a modern method of producing rice called Systems of Rice Intensification (SRI).
A farmer, Fiskani Banda, said while the new technology led to higher yields, they faced challenges for markets for the increased production.
“With the technology, we use less rice seeds, but get more yield,” she said.
Banda said lack of markets and irrigation equipment were preventing them to scale-up production.
“I ask government to help us identify markets and facilitate loans to acquire irrigation equipment,” she said.
Nkhotakota district crop production officer Idrussi Kanyenda commended Cisp for the initiative.
“I will take the complaints to relevant forums so we can link them to reliable markets,” he said.
On his part, Cisp agronomist PiciousMsiska said they introduced SRI to help farmers cope with the effects of climate change.
“The SRI is a pro-poor intervention as it requires less seeds.
“Previously, farmers used to sow 63 kilogramme(kg) of rice seeds per hectare, but with SRI, they only require 10 kg of rice seed for the same area of land,” he said.
Msiska said this leads to a reduction in seed and fertiliser inputs as well as labour, thereby realising high profits.
He advised the farmers to form groups to identify markets easily.