Small scale farmers in the country need to embrace new agriculture technologies if they are to hit it big in their trade and maximize food production efficiency which is key in the elimination of hunger in the country, Minister of Agriculture, Lobin Lowe, has implored.
Lowe made the urge Friday at the Capital Hotel Marque in Lilongwe during a premier of a Kulima documentary titled 'School Without Walls' whose chief aim is to promote farmers by improving their access to use of agriculture research innovations by Malawian farmers.
The one hour long documentary which was produced by Johannes Preuss--a German national working with the European Union (EU)--features smallholder farmers, extension workers and scientists who show how modern methods are helping to beat challenges necessitated by climate change and declining soil fertility in most parts of the country.
Through his virtual presentation, Lowe emphasized that small scale farmers have the potential to contribute positively towards the economic growth of Malawi.
Said Lowe: "Smallholder farmers have potential to boost our economy .However, with the ordinary way of doing things we cannot fully achieve whatever we want to achieve in as far as agriculture is concerned, farmers need to learn new ways of farming and catch up with new technology."
The minister further commended the Kulima EU Programme being fronted by GIZ and other partners saying it will help smallholder farmers in maximizing their potentials.
International Centre For Research in Agro-Forestry (ICRAF) representative, Isaac Nyoka, was upbeat that Malawian smallholder farmers have an opportunity to learn more farming skills through the Kulima programme as it was designed to help farmers learn practical things.
However, Nyoka said for farmers to do better, they need to properly address organic matter of their soil saying if that is not addressed the mineral fertilizers cannot be effective and in so doing they cannot benefit much from sweat.
Commenting on the documentary, research associate in sustainable aquaculture and fisheries science at World Fish, Meriam Msatilomo Phiri, said after watching the documentary smallholders farmers will be able to understand challenges they face and how they can be addressed; and in so doing be able to adopt new technologies which can in turn enable them to diverse their farming systems that are key to food security.
Phiri advised smallholder farmers to remain steadfast to new research in the agriculture sector and listen keenly to extension workers who disseminate new farming technologies which they need to improve agricultural productivity.
The documentary was watched and followed by thousands across the globe as it was live on various online portals including Zoom and Facebook.