Farmers encouraged to work in groups
President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera has encouraged farmers in the country to work in groups to realize more yields from their farming activities.
He said this on Monday after touring Matapwata and Thyolo Centre Extension Planning Areas (EPAs) to interact with farmers and inspect crops.
During the tour, Chakwera visited farmers at Ntholora Village in Traditional Authority (TA) Ngolongoliwa and M'mambo Village in the area of TA Nchiramwera.
He said having interacted with three families at Ntholora Village and those at M'mambo Village, working in groups has the potential for farmers to realize more harvest due to joint efforts.
“My visit has taught me several lessons and some being that many farmers have sold their identities to vendors but those who worked in groups have redeemed all the farm inputs. I did not plan to address people but the gathering is too huge that I cannot go without addressing them," said Chakwera.
Minister of Agriculture, Lobin Lowe said with a lot of fake information on social media surrounding the AIP and the President had no choice but to get first-hand information in the field.
Lowe conceded that the program whose objective was to enhance agricultural productivity has indeed faced challenges but farmers were likely to be food secure this year.
Chief Agriculture and Natural Resources Officer for Thyolo District Council, Mirriam Ndhlovu said the district was likely to have bumper yields despite some challenges such as dry spells which hit the district before the actual onset of the rains.
"The first round of maize estimates in Thyolo showed the district will realize 133,469 metric tonnes of maize, representing 2,370 kilograms of maize per one hectare.
"This planting season farmers have utilized 56,316 hectares of land and the future looks promising," she said.
One of the farmers, Felix Kamwana from Ntholora Village said the inspection of his garden was a huge motivation, saying being a lead farmer enlisted on a presidential visit was a huge milestone in his farming career.