LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)-The benefits of the innovations of the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR), that address food security, are not of direct benefiting to local farmers in the country.
The University’s research findings and innovations are mostly left in the institution’s shelves, drawers, and libraries, instead of filtering down to the farmers who can use them for increasing yields in various agricultural products.
This observation was made on Wednesday during a panel discussion the University held with the media, farmers, and national science organizations, at its campus in the capital Lilongwe, the theme of the panel discussion centered on the challenges of communicating research findings.
In the discussion, panelists lauded LUANAR for standing tall in producing research findings and establishing various innovations that would potentially be beneficial to change Malawi’s agricultural systems. This is because agriculture is the backbone of Malawi’s economy.
But despite the innovations and numerous research findings, the drawback remains the University’s failure to publish the findings and or pass on informations on the innovations to end users that include farmers, companies, and individuals for production improvement.
USAID funding channeled through the New Alliance Policy Acceleration Support (NAPAS) Malawi Project, provided University the opportunity to host the week-long panel discussion that was part of a long-week media training that started on Monday in the capital city.
The Executive Director of Farm Radio Trust (FRT) Rex Chapota, observed that most of the University’s research findings, and innovations are not benefiting the nation to improve agricultural systems.
Chapota said most lecturers and students work at public universities, are using these for personal income, development, to pass examinations or attain academic accolades.
He added that if such innovations are left on the University’s shelves, then the country will remain poor in agriculture standards.
“It’s high time our public universities translate what they find in their research to transform the nation. LUANAR for instance, has been producing various innovations to improve agricultural production. But this has not been put to local use.
“We want research findings, innovations, technologies to be put in the language a common farmer can tap the knowledge and put into use for increasing their yields,” Chapota urged.
Echoing the same, Ida Kazembe, a Malawi News Agency (is MANA) journalist, observed that the University was not open enough with the media on various innovations.
Kazembe urged LUANAR to embrace the media in the publishing their research findings or technologies do that they inform the public who the end users; this can lead to total national transformation.
“We don’t want always to be invited during graduation; opening of facilities events, but rather engage us in the innovations that are beneficial to the public. We have the capacity to reach to masses for life improvement,” Kazembe said.
LUANAR’s representative, Dr. Limbikani Matumba, acknowledged the gap that exists between the media with the institutions on dissemination of their research findings, technologies, and innovations to public.
Dr. Matumba assured the media of a total restructuring on the University’s communication strategies so that various LUANAR initiatives are introduced into the society to improve people’s lives.
Bunda College of Agriculture delinked from the University of Malawi (UNIMA) in 2011, co-joined the Natural Resources College (NRC) to form LUANAR.
Since LUANAR separated from UNIMA, there has been significant development at the University, with its financial muscle coupled with outstanding infrastructures is sustaining the institution.