Farmer field school key to increased crop production
Farmer field schools hve been described as one of the tools that have potential to increase crop production, fight against hunger problem and reduce land degradation in the country.
The sentiments have been made by Principle Agriculture Training Officer in the Department of Agriculture Extension Services Boniface Kautale during a three weeks training of community based facilitators held at Zomba Agriculture Recruitment Center.
Kautale said Malawi government under Malawi Watershed Service Improvement Project (MWASIP) has trained community based facilitators and agriculture extension workers on restoration of the land in a bid to protect environment and increase crop production among the in the country.
“For farmers to practice those sustainable land management practices, we have to train them so that once they have been trained, they will practice the same, and then we will have improvement in the adoption of the sustainable land management practices," he said.
He added that they are expecting the facilitators being trained to embark on establishing farmer field schools in their respective areas in order to impart skills and knowledge to other farmers in the communities and following modern agriculture system that may result into farmers having bumper yields.
Kautale (R): we expect them to start farmer field schools in their respective areas
According to Kautale, it is important to train the farmers in the country on restoration of land and environment conservation because there is a link between the environmental conservation and agriculture production.
“We expect these farmers to start farmer field schools in their respective areas to share knowledge on issues to do with sustainable land management practices which will help to restore degraded area so that they should produce more in farming,” said Kautale.
Commenting on the same, Assistant Chief Agriculture Extension Officer in the Department of Agriculture Extension Services in the Ministry of Agriculture Pearson Soko said the training is significance in the implementation of (MWASIP) because it will help to empower the famers in their respective areas to take ownership and understand the dynamics of agriculture extension.
He said; “Farmer field school training is very important because extension workers have a number of approaches they use to deliver extension messages to the community in oder to empower farmers to take leading role in protecting the environment.”
Soko (C): Farmer Field Schools will help farmers to address challenges they face in their farming activities
He further said farmers are facing different challenges such as disease, pests and management of new technological agriculture systems saying the farmer field schools will help famers to understand the problems and manage to find solutions to the challenges they face own their own.
One of the participants Alepe Waya from Mtubwi EPA in Machinga district commended the training saying it is an eye opener, and it will help them to identify problems they face in their arming activities, and find its solutions which will also help to increase crop produce.
She said through the MWASIP program, many farmers are benefiting a lot because they are able to harvest bumper yields that used to feed their families and reduce hunger problems in their families.