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Special Essay by DR DAVID MKWAMBISI, an Associate

Professor of Environment and Development at
Luanar. He is also a member of the UNFCCC
committee on Climate Change and Agriculture.

Climate change and agriculture:

Where do we go wrong?
lobal, regional and

HOT INSTITUTIONS national forums, summits

and conferences have
discussed, generated solutions
and recommendations on how
The following are countries and communities can
address challenges of climate
organisations and change on economies. These
forums have also provided
solutions on how agriculture, in
institutions that the face of climate change, can
create employment, enhance
are promoting the food and nutrition security,
reduce malnutrition and provide
agriculture sector in the necessary raw materials for
economic growth. Despite such
huge investments and increased
Malawi: global and local consultation
foot prints, Malawi remains food
insecure and is placed 170 out of
1 Johnhasen 178 countries in terms of human
development index to be among
the poorest countries even 53
2 Smallholder Farmer years after independence.
Fertiliser Revolving Climate change and

Fund of Malawi agriculture
Government reports, scientific
(SFFRFM) findings, civil society campaigns
and media intelligences have
shown that Malawi is vulnerable
3 Famers to climate and weather variability
mainly because majority of Climate change has resulted in flooding
Organisation smallholder farmers depend on
rain-fed agriculture. Due to global Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Malawi and development partners
Limited (FOL) and regional climatic changes, the Committee (Mvac) attributed this Why Malawi is agriculture still support this group despite
country is faced with prolonged to the late onset of rains in the vulnerable enormous evidence that it has
4 CORI dry spells, floods, heavy rains, 20142015 maize growing season, Over years, research and failed to feed the country and
strong winds and increased followed by continuous heavy national level consultations have create employment.
5 Chemical World incidences of pests and disease. rain in early 2015 which caused revealed that there are other Coupled with limited intent in
Statistics from the Country widespread flooding and affected structural and fundamental visualising farming as business,
Profile of Disasters show that 25 of the countrys 28 districts. features that have affected lack of commitment as well as the
6 Royal Motors most of the observed impacts of Wi t h i n t h e s m a l l h o l d e r national economy in general growing dependency syndrome
the climate related disasters in agriculture sector, climate change and specifically the agriculture (desire to receive hand-outs of
7 USAIDF the agricultural sector are crop has also resulted in loss of crop sector. First and foremost, huge farm inputs from the projects)
failure, (loss of yield and income) and animal biodiversity, poor investments in the agriculture is working against progress of
and loss of land and infrastructure performance of crops and livestock, sector are targeting poor resource the projects intended purpose of
8 Peacock Seeds destruction due to flooding. The failure to irrigate rice, increased smallholder farmers. This group building resilience. In addition,
information further shows that labour costs due to extended has been supported by irrigation these farmers lack capacity in
9 AGAS maize has been the most common transplanting dates of tobacco and i n t e r v e n t i o n s , m a r ke t i n g market intelligence and research
crop that is being affected with other crops, unforeseeable costs infrastructure, post harvest as such; they meet challenges in
few incidences of tree crops, to address pests and diseases and technologies, subsidised farm selling their produce. Smallholder
livestock. poor quality of yield resulting in inputs and capacity building farmers have inadequate
Furthermore, with specific low agricultural prices. These programmes, among others. capacity to manage irrigation
to maize production in Malawi, outcomes have resulted in million But both financial and schemes and they lack the
reports indicate that with droughts of households to depend on environmental indicators among required technical know-how
and floods experienced in recent natural resources thereby leading the group have been disappointing, for other requirements including
years; 2015 maize harvests were to land degradation that has also leading to increased poverty and
30 percent lower than in the affected the agriculture land and perpetual food insecurity. One tend SUPPLEMENT
previous harvest season. The livestock pasture. to wonder why the Government of PAGE 3

Agriculture needs transformation

PAGE 2 agriculture sector and lack commodities is causing
prior programming based unnecessary constraints
on climate information. on the government.
agronomical requirements It is very clear that It is very clear that
of the crops they are despite having proper most of the projects in
irrigating. The smallholder structures in the Ministry Malawi are funded by
farmers have weak farmer of Agriculture, Irrigation development partners
organisation resulting in and Water Development, and have been designed
failure to mobilise resources the institutional capacity of mostly to achieve food
for maintenance of the government departments security objectives
irrigation facilities. There and agencies promoting rather than supporting
have also been challenges agricultural development sustainable economic
associated with group with respect to building goals. Most of the projects
marketing and further resilience in the agricultural are being designed based
investments in their sector leaves a lot to be on development goals
agricultural interventions. desired. Most of the articulated in government
Consultations have agricultural projects policies and strategies
revealed that most of the in the country relies on without critically looking
irrigation infrastructure g ov e r n m en t o f f i ci a l s . at emerging issues on the
that was developed under However, high turnover ground. Future projects
several funded projects are and high vacancy rate in should be designed on
heavily underutilised or government affects progress business case approach
completely abandoned. For as trained officers go for looking at human capacity,
instance, Mtengula Solar other engagements. financial resources, legal
Irrigation Scheme in Neno Frequent transferring of mandates and business
covers 424 hactares (ha), District Commissioners management.
but farmers only cultivate (DCs) as well as District Future projects should
100ha and fail to produce Agricultural Development deliberately target
enough on the whole Officers (Dados) also affects farmers that have the
potentially irrigated area. implementation for better capacity to manage
Po o r p l a n n i n g a n d or for worst outcomes. agriculture interventions
programming by the Some of the DCs and as a business and be
government and its partners DADOs have the required able to graduate from
has been identified as one institutional management poverty to economically

of the challenges affecting capacity that can support sustained farmers. The
the agriculture sector in the implementation of very poor farmers should
face of climate change. For agriculture intervention to be supported by other
example, despite seasonal withstand climate change mechanisms including
weather forecasts released shocks for community the social protection
every September by the r e s i l i e n c e . H o w e v e r, programme.
Department of Climate political influence marred by Relief items are short-term solution to disaster Most of the projects
Change and Meteorological victimisation is weakening have failed to achieve
Services, Malawi and its the agriculture sector. their objectives because
development partners tend There are also some cases are released at systems. agriculture footprint there are no clear
to ignore this information implementation conflicts the end of the season. This It is very clear on the and/or too many small- frameworks for managing
for pr og ramming the between government is even worse considering ground that the proliferation scale projects distributed and implementing the
agricultural interventions. ministries/ departments that almost 100 percent of NGOs supporting climate across the country. This projects especially
The 2015 El Nino season as each department pursue of the agriculture projects smart agriculture has also is influenced by members those at community
could have been properly their own agenda and may depend on financial support contributed to the sectors of Parliament (MPs) and level. In this case, the
managed if the country not efficiently support each from our donors. vulnerability. Results show councillors who have government should have
was able to harvest and other. This has proved While the development that these institutions been demanding projects a strategy of putting in
store water for agricultural difficult to get the services partners have in place tend to utilise government in their constituencies place an Agriculture
production. from another Ministry/ the Donor Committee extension workers who and wards respectively Tr a n s f o r m a t i o n Te a m
The response by department during on Agriculture and Food have failed to fulfil their and hence influencing ( AT T ) . T h e AT T w i l l
government to climate project implementation Security (DCAFS), there mandate by spending more projects designs. act as technical and
related disasters are because there is lack of are certain projects that time with NGOs. Need for an administrative partners
mostly targeting the commitment/ownership of individual donors are Most of the projects a g r i c u l t u r a l and should be specialised
post disaster support. the project activities. championing without that aim to build climate transformation model in the commodity that
This is mostly through Lack of coordination the involvement of other resilience are marred with The government will be identified. The
relief items, agricultural has also been noted even partners. This has resulted issues of land ownership, and its development ATT should be partnered
inputs, sanitation and within the ministries. Such in duplication of efforts, as other landowners partners should prioritise with t h e AT C s t o
accommodation facilities challenges tend to affect wastage of resources and within the developed area agricultural commodities form the Agriculture
and public health education. the agriculture sector since constraint on government may have limited intent (value chains) that will Tr a n s f o r m a t i o n
There is no medium weather factors require staff.. in visualising farming receive the required Partnership (ATP).
and long-term response timely interventions. This obser vation is as business and lack of attention in the short In conclusion, the
plan for the disasters in It has also been noted f u r t h e r w e a ke n e d b y commitment to engage in and medium term. The agriculture and climate
relation to agriculture; and that funding agencies the participation of non- farming. The issue of land business approach should c h a n g e s e ctors have
in general, the response tend to delay in releasing governmental organisations ownership is contentious consider diversification too many actors and
is not directly linked to financial resources within (NGOs) who are also and is working against or other target v alue players. This outcome has
building the resilience in the agricultural season. For supporting or implementing progress of the countrys chains towards, for contributed to national
the agricultural sector. For example, funds that could agricultural interventions intended purpose of example, increased economy vulnerability
example, contingency plans have been used to support without following any building resilience. livestock production. resulting in increased
facilitated by Dodma are interventions at the onset government plans or being Po l i t i c a l p r e s s u r e The current approach poverty and land
not directly linked to the of the agricultural season in guided by the government has resulted into small of supporting almost all degradation. n


Issues to consider on agricultural

and dR JOHN

griculture is the most

innovations and technologies

important vehicle for
realising economic
development, creating
employment and poverty
reduction in most countries
in the sub-Saharan Africa,
particularly in Malawi where
economic diversification is
limited. broader spatial scale
For the past 50 years, is limited. Substantial
agriculture in the country investment is required to
has confirmed its place as an make technology generation
industry of national interest a continuous process with
although progress to develop adaptive mechanisms
the sector has not matched for improvement of
national expectations. technologies to suit various
Improving agricultural times and environments.
productivity is critical for There is a need to improve
economic growth and technology performance by
livelihood enhancement appropriately aligning its
and, therefore, meeting this attributes with end-user
expectation. preferences that take into
Over the past years, with account socio-economic and
the exception of the last agro-ecological conditions.
farming season (2016/17), In terms of gender equity,
Malawi has experienced women were less likely to
low agricultural productivity adopt the new technology
and lagged behind in terms (presumably due to
of total and per capita food worse access to factors
production. of production, relative to
Climate change, land men).
degradation, pest and disease Therefore, there is
need for Malawi to adopt

proliferation interactively
impose limits to agricultural comprehensive gender-
productivity, thus creating mainstreaming strategies
perpetual food insecurity as a prerequisite for
and imports. The situation effectively addressing
is worsened with increased gender-based constraints
food demand due to high which undermine adoption
Few farmers use tractors in their fields and productivity of
population growth currently
estimated at 18 million-plus. agricultural technologies.
Agricultural innovation do researchers develop? involved. Ironically, we live with a comprehensive and learning. Consequently, In addition, there is a need
and technologies have been Another reason for the low in a society where women consideration of the whole technology development has for institutional reforms to
widely recognised as key adoption of the agricultural have culturally very limited value chain. followed a similar path. Such promote the efficiency and
to addressing most of the technologies in Malawi can control over resources in Innovative small technologies miss the harsh effectiveness of technology
causes of low productivity. be explained in terms of the the household. Even when producer organisations and realities of complexities generation and delivery
Research institutions all over mismatch between time of it comes to decision making institutional arrangements of the agricultural value systems.
the world have generated need and availability. Most women do not take an active provide an array of services chain which calls for We conclude that the
numerous technologies, of the times, the innovations role in the society. ranging from enhancing understanding and uptake of a new practice is a
innovations and have come from the West and Adoption of technologies access to management of responding to services complex process influenced
promoted improved they are implemented at the goes beyond the motivation natural resources, accessing ranging from enhancing by both extrinsic and
management practices to time when they reach us, to improve production. input and output markets, access and management of intrinsic variables.
address production risks. which mostly take time. This Famers are eager to know improving access to natural resources, accessing Extrinsic variables, such
However, adoption among means that technologies are where they can sell their information and knowledge input and output markets, as the characteristics of the
smallholder farmers has not available when they are produce after a bumper and facilitating small improving access to adopter, the characteristics
remained extremely low. needed most. harvest. This is a critical producers participation in information and knowledge of the innovation and the
One of the reasons On the other hand, challenge which influences policy-making. and facilitating small external environment, as
for the low adoption of imported technologies lose whether or not to adopt a Improving adoption of producers participation in well as intrinsic variables,
technologies, especially local context and, therefore, technology. agricultural technology can policy-making. This is a toll such as knowledge,
among smallholder farmers, frustrating for adoption Unscrupulous vendors be possible with necessary in the current of disciple- perceptions and attitudes,
is simply that they are among smallholder take advantage of the knowledge and skills relevant based curriculum. influence the decision to
unaware of the existence of farmers. This takes us to situation facing smallholder to understanding the Funding technology take up a new practice.
the technologies. It appears the third point: Construing farmers to make profits dynamics and complexities generation is a long We would like to challenge
there is an absolute lack that the technologies are as they pay far too little to of the value chain system. process and requires huge researchers to consider
of credible information on unprofitable, given the make famers sustain their This brings us to the next investment. The situation carrying out studies aimed
the available technologies. complex sets of decisions farming enterprises. As strand of argument about on the ground suggests at understanding how both
This is coming about mostly that farmers make about mentioned earlier, this begs the nature of curriculum that research institutions intrinsic and extrinsic factors
because of an apparent how to allocate their land and the question about how that can produce such an are facing stiff funding interact and drive adoption
disconnection that exists labour across agricultural technologies are produced. imaginable expert. constraints rendering of the technologies. n
between researchers or and non-agricultural Technologies developed Higher education technology development
technology developers and activities. in a piecemeal are hardly curriculum has traditionally project-based. *The authors are lecturers
the intended beneficiary. Research shows that in appealing to farmers. Rather, followed a silo -based Technologies generated from the Lilongwe University
This raises a critical smallholder farming, it is they should be developed approach with discipline- this way are time specific of Agriculture and Natural
question: Whose technology mostly women who are in an innovation system driven paradigms of teaching and their relevance to Resources (Luanar)


Peacock Seeds increasing market share

ALICK PONJE Smallholder higher yield with that one of the like premium the company is
Staff RepoRteR Farmers 6.5 metric tonnes challenges the market linkages, also working

ne of the Fertiliser per hectare. company faces conducting with African
country s Revolving Fund The company is the culture of demonstration Institute of
seed (SFFRFM), targets all farmers using recycled plots, Corporate
companies PTC and regardless of size seed. participatory Citizenship
Peacock Seeds Agora so that of their farmland, But to deal farmer (AICC)
is increasing its certified seed gender or creed. with the problem, awareness under the
market share is accessible Our different Peacock Seeds is programmes National Rice
every year as countrywide. varieties of crops working hand in and radio Development
it continues Peacock may be hand with programmes Platform
offering high Seed corporate suitable The company Business advertisement, (NRDP) to
quality certified affairs manager by region, targets all Innovation among others, build certified
packaged Horace Boti terrain Facility said Boti. packaged rice
said Peacock and
farmers (BIF) to According
seed and offer seed adoption
extension varieties are climatic regardless of sensitise rice to Boti, when rate.
services to water efficient conditions. size of their communities farmers use Peacock Seeds
farmers. and drought The only on the Peacock is a locally-
tolerant, which variance is farmland, importance certified owned and run
The company
has managed makes them the type of gender or of using seed, their seed company
adaptable to crop and packaged productivity with a unique
to partner with creed
leading selling climate change. variety per certified increases as range of drought
outlets like He added ecological seed. the varieties tolerant varieties
Agricultural that the rice location, said We have are tolerant to that are bred
Trading variety which Boti. also introduced other diseases to adapt to the
Company (ATC), the company is On the other behaviour and pests. effects of climate
Kulima Gold, promoting is of hand, Boti added changing tools He added that change. n

SFFRFM reiterates commitment to improve farmers lives

ALICK PONJE extending its target SFFRFM fertilizer nationwide, says since challenges by
Staff RepoRteR market to large- conform to Kachelenga. liberalisation proper marketing
scale farmers and standards. She adds that of the fertiliser of our products
The Smallholder estates. We are always SFFRFM is industry in the and services
Farmers Fertiliser SFFRFM sales transparent in our diversifying into 1990s. and through
Revolving Fund of and marketing activities because non-fertiliser Mostly it is to sensitisation
Malawi (SFFRFM) officer Angella we The institution products in its do with unfair campaigns, says
says it remains Kachelenga says the believe sales outlets competition Kachelenga.
committed to institution has good in giving has good such as since there are SFFRFM was
improving the lives quality fertiliser the best quality fertiliser agrochemicals, no regulated created in 1988
of smallholder with technical to the with technical seed, sprayers barriers to with the main
farmers who are the specifications farmer. and hoes entry into objective of
which comply We are
specifications thereby the fertilizer
company s major ensuring timely
target group. with farmers attaining which comply making its industry. Anyone importation,
The farmers, requirements. steady with farmers depots one- can enter the distribution and
mostly those in According to growth stop shops. Malawi market sale of various
requirements She adds
rural areas, usually Kachelenga, there in the even with types of fertilisers
fail to access are no incidents market despite that one of the limited fertiliser to smallholder
quality farm inputs, of underweight the volatile challenges that expertise. farmers to enable
thus SFFRFMs fertiliser bags and environment and SFFRFM is However, we them grow both
focus to reach out all the technical managing to have currently facing is are dealing food and cash
to them while also specifications of satellite depots stiff competition with these crops. n
Turn- Key specialist in Animal Farming & Agro processing,
Industrial Slaughtering, waste treatment and Food Processing.

os. Hansen & Soehne GmbH, together with
Partner International Group Consulting of Spain,
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Plants are small scale production units for the students Elimination of animal wastes must be carried out in a
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well as the product developer in the food industry. It on the environment. However, to use the by-products
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Royal Motors providing Farmers Organisation

world-class solutions Ltd advancing in new
otor vehicle and
other machinery
d e a l e r, R o y a l
Motors, says it continues
growth and sustainability
in its business by
providing its customers
with the ultimate sales
- Germany and a water-
pump and generator
repair centre.
We provide the best
providing world-class experience, high quality all-round solutions for
ALICK PONJE adaptability. in brand support
solutions in Malawi to products and excellent our customers by sharing Staff RepoRteR According to activities.
meet the requirements of after-sales service. our vast experience and Madeira, the These include
its customers. Its products and knowledge; by innovating newest varieties extension
The 100 percent and conducting
solutions cater for a wide
Malawian owned company, range of applications, business based on Organisation have a yield services, mass
which was established including the Automotive, trust, transparency and Limited (FOL) is potential of 4 to and interactive
in 2001, is probably the E n e r g y, A g r i c u l t u r e , customer satisfaction, gearing for the 5.5 metric tons communication
fastest growing after- Construction, Transport reads a note from Royal per acre with high
2017/18 main and technical
market solutions provider and Mining sectors. Motors.
in Malawi. A note from the The companys growing season by levels of disease support through
It has sole-exclusive company indicates that product portfolio for the introducing two tolerance. experienced and
distribution rights and Royal Motors has three agriculture sector includes new more medium We are also skilled sales,
strong-partnerships with divisions for the vital tyres, electrical and service trying to respond
parts for various vehicles maturity maize marketing and
some of the best brands after-market support link
in the global marketplace, to customers. and equipment, safety- varieties onto the to issues of technical team.
most of them world- This includes a state- wear, solar systems and market. hunger and post- Said Madeira:
leaders in their respective of-the-art Bosch Car & energy back-up solutions, The varieties, harvest losses in As a business, we
fields of expertise. Truck Ser vice Centre, tools, as well as generators the country; MRI
The company has and batteries for a variety MR1 624 and MRI are very creative
a Tyre Fitment Centre
achieved tremendous powered by Beissbarth of applications. n 634, are coming 514 hybrid maize and innovative
onto the market seed and Actellic and we exist to
hot on the heels of gold dust are provide safe and
other varieties MRI solutions. MRI cost effective
514 and MRI 614 514 gives farmers pest management
which are already an opportunity solutions and
winning the hearts to cultivate all seeds by offering
of many farmers year round with high quality
as evidenced from its core attributes products that
recent field shows of early maturing are approved by
where the farmers (100 120 days) the regulatory
expressly indicated dependent on authorities in
that they had altitude and its Malawi.
found new hope in strong tolerance to He added that
the two varieties. Maize Streak Virus FOL has also
FOL sales and and other soil- introduced the
marketing manager borne diseases and Nyonga pack
Hannock Madeira Actellic Gold dust which is a power
said the company preserves grain pack of different
has introduced the for a period of not pesticides
two varieties to less than 9 months designated for use
give farmers a wide with a window by small holder
range of choices. period of 2 weeks, farmers.
Madeira said said Madeira. The pack
MRI 624 and He added that comprises
MRI 634 and the FOL, which has seed dressing,
existing MRI 614 been in existence herbicides,
fall under the in Malawi for fungicides,
medium-maturity the past 37 insecticides,
range varieties years, believes grain insecticide,
in Malawi that in providing instruction
have proved to be farmers with the pamphlets in
drought resistant modern agriculture vernacular
and adaptable to practices and language and PPE
climate change solutions hence its (Gloves, masks),
with broader full engagement said Madeira. n


Stiffled aquaculture growth in


t is a known fact that Malawi is
an agricultural-based economy

apt innovations and technologies

with more than 11 million
people engaged in subsistence
farming and contributing more
than 75 percent of the food supply
in the country. The Agriculture
sector contributes about 90
percent of exports and a third of
the Growth Domestic Product
(GDP). Although the country
heavily depends on agriculture, the
production levels, especially under
subsistence agriculture, are quite
low amidst plentiful agriculture
innovations and technologies
that have been developed over
the years.
Aquaculture as a sector in
One of the many sectors that
have suffered little development
in Malawi is aquaculture. Since
its inception in 1956, the sector
is struggling to grow as it has
only about 7 000 farmers against
11 million farming population
(about 1percent of the farming
population). Besides, there are
only about 10 000 earthen ponds

in the whole country, most of
which are less than 20 metres by
10 metres each. No wonder the
total contribution of smallholder
farmers to total fish catch in the
country barely hits 1 000 tonnes
per annum. This production is by
Fish ponds are still few in the country
far lower than what the per capita
consumption of 20 kilogrammes
(kgs) per person per year as not received enough promotion The following are selected are similar to the indigenous feed (plankton, macrophytes and
recommended by World Health at government level. Almost all technologies that have given Chambo. However, the improved benthos), the use of formulated
Organisation (WHO). Currently, agricultural systems such as food positive impact in aquaculture. Oreochromis shiranus have diets has extremely increased
Malawis per capital consumption crop production, bee keeping, Use of improved fish breeds shown exceptional traits in fish growth performance and
is 10.09 kgs per person per year. fruit and vegetable production Success in any agricultural growth rate and yields and improved yields. Farmers who
Although the sector does as well as animal husbandry are enterprise depends on the perform much better than the have ventured into aquaculture
not flourish quite well, fish has well addressed in the primary and quality and ability of the seeds to non-improved ones. Fish yields can use locally available
remained the most important secondary schools curriculum. In posses traits that will give higher are expected to improve if these ingredients to prepare feed
source of employment as well as some cases, there are practicals in yields. Similarly, in aquaculture, improved breeds are used. The for their fish by themselves
protein source in Malawi. Besides, those other agricultural systems. the use of fish species with Aquaculture and Fisheries w i t h a d v i c e f r o m L u a n a r,
it provides 40 percent of the total Technologies that can boost fast growth rate and highest Science Department of Lilongwe Aquaculture and Fisheries
protein supply in the country. aquaculture in Malawi optimum yield is one of the University of Agriculture and Science Department or any
Since fish is rich in mineral as well There a lot more technologies innovations that have assisted Natural Resources (Luanar), other expert.
as other important nutrients, it and innovations that have been in achieving escalated yields in Bunda Campus, is putting Cage culture and intensive
contributes significantly to daily developed in the aquaculture aquaculture. While there are up modalities so that these pond culture
nutritional requirements to the sector. However, adoption is other renowned high performing genetically improved fish species More than 20 percent of
majority of Malawian population. very slow. According to Rogers' fish species such as Tilapia are accessible to farmers. Malawi is water. Besides there are
Studies have revealed that many Diffusion of Innovation Theory, niloticus, Genetically Improved more than 750 dams scattered
people engage in aquaculture adoption of a technology is Farmed Tilapia (Gift) and Carp, Use of formulated feed as all over the country. Despite all
merely as a hobby and not as part attributed to five factors: they are restricted for cultured in a solution these amenities, cage culture is
of their major enterprise. Relative advantage- a degree to Malawi because of the countrys Feed accounts for about hardly practised in Malawi by
A section of individuals have a which an innovation is perceived laws and regulations. As such, 60 percent of the total fish smallholder farmers. However,
feeling that because fish can grow as being better than the idea it Malawi relies only on our production cost. Over the years, h i s t o r i c a l l y, c a g e c u l t u r e
in water naturally without being supersedes; Compatibility- a indigenous three fish species: a number of fish feeds have been has been key to flourishing
fed, then there is no need to feed degree to which an innovation Tilapia rendalli, Oreochromis developed, tested and proved aquaculture production in many
fish in captivity. The individuals fits with the existing values, shiranus and Oreochromis effective. It has to be stated countries. This technology has
with this mentality usually engage past experiences, and needs of Karongae which make up about that it takes about 7 kgs of feed seen aquaculture flourishing in
in aquaculture as a hobby. They potential adopters; Complexity- 90 percent of the aquaculture to produce a 1 kg gain in live Thailand, Nepal, China as well
construct fish ponds, stock them a degree to which an innovation production in the country. While weight of cattle. For pork, it as Japan.
with fish, go on holiday and come is perceived as difficult to they posses other good traits, needs about 4 kgs of feed per If we adopt this technology in
back after six months to harvest it understand and use; Trialability- their growth rate is very slow. kilogrammes (kgs) of weight addition to intensive pond culture
without providing any managerial a degree to which an innovation However, through genetic gain, poultry needs about 2 kgs systems, fish production will surely
care. The result is that they get may be experimented on a engineering and breeding, while farmed fish less than 2 improve in Malawi. n
frustrated and dump aquaculture limited basis; and Observability- recently there have been kgs of feed. Certainly, fish has a
when they cannot harvest as they a degree to which the results of improved breeds of Oreochromis better feed conversion ratio than *Austin H N Mtethiwa is Associate
expected. an innovation are visible to the shiranus up F2 generation. Their other animals. Professor at Lilongwe Agriculture and
Besides this, aquaculture has adopters. taste and other characteristics While fish can live on natural Natural Resources (Luanar).

Modern ways of farming

PAGE 16 a thing of the past. hence the need to the importance protection and
markets. The losses
While the country make the present of conserving the sustainable development
are a constraint to
is proud of these newly-adopted environment to accord of natural resources. n
legumes such as soy food security not
various modern farming agricultural practices full recognition to
bean to maximise only in Malawi, but *DYSON MTHAWANJI
technologies, it is also sustainable. Chapter the rights of future
production. also in many African is Communiocations
important to consider III of the Constitution generations by means
In recent years, countries. Manager for CisaNet
future generations, of Malawi recognises of environmental
some farmers have Luckily, the
been applying package of modern
inoculants in soy farming ways
beans and the results includes strategies
have always brought on how farmers
smiles on their faces. can prevent this
Lilongwe University post-harvest loss.
of Agriculture and Farm Radio Trust is
Natural Resources promoting Purdue
(Luanar) will soon Improved Crop
introduce inoculants Storage (Pics) bags
for groundnuts. This for maize storage.
is good innovation, Pics bags are non-
especially now chemical, triple-layer,
when farmers are hermetically sealable
diversifying their bags developed by
crop production Pursue University,
following with USAid funding,
unreliability of some as part of modern
main crops such as agricultural methods
tobacco whose sales and a low-cost
are becoming poorer. solution to post-
Managing post- harvest losses of
harvest losses grains and legumes.
It is disappointing A Pics bag consists
that sometimes of two layers of
famers lose the polyethylene liners
already harvested and a third layer
crop. Yes, post- made from woven
harvest losses are a polypropylene. When
serious issue. The each layer is tied and
losses are some of closed separately, it
the challenges that creates a hermetically
farmers face. The sealed environment
dangerous part of for storing harvested
it is that it happens grain. This oxygen-
silently and when deprived environment
the farmer notices proves fatal for pests,
it, it is too late and molds and aflatoxins.
irreversible. These modern
According bags are suitable for
to research by storing groundnuts,
the Catholic soy beans, maize,
Development rice, beans, cowpeas,
Commission of and pigeon peas and
Malawi (Cadecom), other grains and
post-harvest legumes. They are re-
losses for Malawi usable for more than
sometimes go as three years.
high as 600 000 A farmer from
tonnes annually. Its Mchinji, Trecio
2012 report titled Kangola, says before
Post-Harvest Losses he started using
in Selected Crops in Pics bags, he would
Malawi observes that lose four out of 10
post-harvest losses bags of harvested
occur at each stage crop to weevils
of the value chain of and aflatoxins. If
the selected crops all smallholder
in which the farmer farmers adopted this
is directly involved, technology, the post-
from harvest to harvest losses will be


Doing farming the innovative way


n recent years,
smallholder farmers crop
production has been poor
due to natural disasters. For
example, about 6.5 million
Malawians were recently in
need of food following floods
and dry spells in some parts
of the country.
The poor production
among smallholder farmers
gives them no excuse in
adopting modern agricultural
practices. They account
for 95 percent of total
production, hence their
downfall is catastrophic not
only to Malawis agriculture
sector, but the entire
The negative impact
of droughts has become
increasingly significant over
the years. With climate
change, this trend is likely to
The country experienced
two consecutive severe
droughts in 2014/15 and
2015/16 growing seasons,
and floods during the
2014/15 season. These had
major negative impact on

agricultural growth, exports
as well as food and nutrition
According to World Banks
2016 report, maize, which is
Malawis staple food, is by Drought has affected crop production
far the dominant crop grown
by almost every farmer in for the Semi Arid Tropics phone messages. By dialing Solar technology in Zomba District to make
the country and accounting (Icrisat) is working with 7111 (TNM) or 8111 (Airtel), Many farmers are also winter cropping process
for almost 50 percent of the strategic partners to make a farmer is able to get any adopting solar-powered easier.
entire planted area. available improved seeds. answer for their agricultural irrigation farming which The machine pumps water
It is important, therefore, Among others, the strategy question which they pose supports unreliable rain- from Shire River into a 50
that farmers adopt modern aims to increase production to Farm Radio Trust. This is fed agriculture. The modern 000 litre storage tank which
farming technologies which of early generations of good development and it is farming demands farmers is later used to irrigate crops
will maximise agricultural seed, that is, breeder and likely to improve agricultural to adopt solar-powered such as maize, cassava and
output, mainly maize, the foundation or basic classes activities because famers will irrigation which minimises sweet potatoes. This is one
staple food. of seed. At the end, this have relevant agricultural human labour. of the areas in Malawi which
Civil Society Agriculture prevents farmers from information at their finger This technology helps experienced persistent dry
Network (CisaNet), an recycling seeds as per tip. farmers save time and spells in 2015 and caused
organisation that provides traditional farming method. In the past, many farmers concentrate on other enormous damage to farmers
agricultural advocacy and Thus the yields will be huge lacked instant information on things such as care crops.
networking, is impressed and more households will be other crops rather than maize for their families. For Since the time, formal
with various interventions food-secure. amid calls and more talk in example, Farmers Union agriculture was introduced
by many stakeholders in the Advanced extension public sphere about crop of Malawi (FUM), with in Malawi where farmers
agriculture sector. services diversification. Therefore, financial support from the thought legumes do not
More non-governmental It is also pleasing to see the extension services via Department for International require fertilisers. But
organisations (NGOs) in extension services getting mobile phones will widen Development (DfID) in May modern way of farming
this sector are promoting to an advanced stage. agricultural knowledge of last year installed a solar- teaches them that a farmer
improved seeds which lead Organisations such as Farm farmers, not only about powered water pump at the needs to apply inoculants to
to maximised harvests. For Radio Trust are now helping maize, but also other newly 55-hectare Nthera Irrigation
example, the International farmers with agricultural adopted crops such as soy Scheme at Traditional SUPPLEMENT
Crops Research Institute messages through mobile bean and pigeon peas. Authority (T/A) Mulumbe PAGE 15