CAT field day

LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)-Centre for Agriculture Transformation (CAT) has advised farmers to adopt new technological farming methods to enhance production in order to achieve tangible economic success and food security.

CAT’s Executive Director, Macleod Nkhoma, made these remarks at Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR) CAT-Bunda smart farm during a media tour the organization arranged to orient the youth, smallholder farmers and media on high yielding technologies that can transform Malawian agricultural systems if embraced.

“The organization has a goal to transform Malawian agricultural systems and the lives of Malawian smallholder farmers by giving them access to inclusive innovation in agricultural science and technology through a range of commercialization channels.

“Through a five-year project from 2019 t0 2024, with grant fromFoundation for a Smoke FreeWorld, (FSFW) with support from Agricultural Transformation Initiative (ATI), CAT want to achieve crop diversification so that farmers do not only depend on tobacco for its economy,” Nkhoma said.

One of the local farmers who has benefited from the project, Emily Maluwaya of Group Village head Kumitondo, Traditional Authority Chadza in Lilongwe lauded the initiative branding a ‘hunger ending farming system’.

“For long in my life I have depended on local seeds and old farming methods that lack a lot of creativity to improve seeds and the whole process of farming which resulted in poor harvests year in year out despite farming on large hectares of land.

“I am very confident that the technologies that I have learnt here will transform my live because at a small piece of land one would harvest plenty, where the surplus would be sold to be bring money into my pockets, thanks to CAT and its partners for this project,” she said.

Some of the crops that have been planted and showcased include locally improved varieties of sweet potatoes, soya beans, maize, cabbage, banana and carrots among many.

FSFW’s Country Director, Candida Nakhumwa expressed satisfied seeing local farmers being drilled how they can practice winter farming instead of depending on rain fed agriculture which has proved not be enough to turn Malawi into a food basket.

“What I have seen here is very impressive and I am glad to see the local farmers learning skills which will change their lives. It’s also pleasing to understand that our efforts here are complementing the Affordable Input Programme whose main objective is to end hunger.

“In that regard I want to appeal to government to consider also putting some interest in winter farming so that we harvest multiple times a year, farmer have shown us that they are ready to embrace new farming technologies,” she said.

Echoing on the same, Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR) Dr. Moses Chinyama hailed CAT for implementing the farming technologies at both NRC and Bunda Campuses.

“LUANAR find this initiative very commendable bearing in mind the fact that the back bone of this university is farming, and it conducts various research activities to promote agriculture in the country.

“In that view, LUANAR gave 70 hectares of land in total at Bunda and NRC compasses to encourage this initiative, because it serves a purpose of promoting our students to be experts in these farming technologies,” he said.

Through a consortium of working partners, some of the key activities undertaken by CAT include, awarding grants to emerging and established agricultural entrepreneurs, business and research institutions, serving as a hub of science on technology, innovation and business incubation and providing customized technical assistance to grantees including mentorship.

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