Two firms have teamed up to train farmers on best practices of handling pesticides to mitigate risks on human life and environment.
The firms, CropLife Malawi and Prosper Markets, which signed a four-year spray service provider (SSP) programme in Lilongwe, have raised an alarm on the risks associated with disposal of pesticides containers and poor application of chemicals.
CropLife executive secretary Christopher Beya said the SSP programme is a partnership between his organisation and Prosper Markets financed by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DfID).
He said: “Studies have shown that we have in Malawi about 30 percent counterfeit pesticide products on the market. This means farmers who use the 30 percent counterfeit products lose out because they are ineffective.”
Prosper Markets team leader Andrew Seward is upbeat the partnership will improve access to information and training on how to apply agrochemicals and how to manage and dispose of them.
CropLife Malawi secretary MadalitsoJerenje explained that there are a number of risks associated with the pesticide prescription, which is technical and complex, adding that in some cases farmers overdose the chemical.
“They [the farmers] may not apply desired quantities and at the right time. In the same vein, they also fail to manage the disposal of containers or residues after applying the chemicals in the field,” she said.
The SSPs are linked to CropLife Malawi affiliated member companies, Ministry of Agriculture Irrigation and Water Development, agro-dealers, non-governmental organisations and farmers groups for continuous monitoring, mentoring and learning.
The linkages ensure that SSPs have access to quality inputs and updated technology information on pests management.