AEAS Bemoans Limited Qualified Personnel in Agriculture Sector
Agriculture Extension and Advisory Services says there is a need for competent recruits to complement the existing qualified but limited personnel in the agriculture sector.
Having limited qualified personnel is generally viewed as a threat to food security in the country, according to Director of Agriculture Extension, Jerome Nkhoma.
Nkhoma was speaking on Tuesday at Bingu International Conventional Centre (BICC) in Lilongwe during the launch of three agriculture-related strategies.
The three strategies are Farmer Organisation Development Strategy (FODS) 2020-2025, Agriculture Sector Food and Nutrition Strategy 2020-2024, and National Agriculture Extension and Advisory Services Strategy.
He said limited personnel in specialized fields and organizations affect productivity, which in turn affects the livelihoods and commercialization of smallholder farmers.
“There is a lack of technical understanding by some stakeholders due to limited skilled personnel,” he said.
He further warned that if the issue is not looked into, there might be food insecurity in the country as most smallholder farmers lack knowledge on how to take care of their fields because they are not reached.
However, Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Supply, Lobin Lowe found hope in the 3-in-one Strategy that had just been launched.
He also commended efforts by Agriculture Extension and Advisory Services for coming up with the strategies, urging them to ensure that they implement the same.
“There is a tendency of launching different projects without implementing them."
“This time around, we will go to Agriculture Development Divisions (ADDs) and all NGOs around the districts, sections, and all the villages, so that farmers should sing a new song,” Lowe said.
He said farmers would benefit a lot after operating without strategies and proper directions for many years, which was weighing on them to the extent that it often resulted in low yields.
“This time around, farmers will benefit a lot as Ministry of Agriculture will collaborate with various non-governmental organizations, unlike in the past when sectors were doing it alone,” Lowe said.
In his remarks, Chief Executive Officer of Farmers Union of Malawi, Jacob Nyirenda said the strategies will also help smallholder farmers at the local level.
Written By: Aisha Amidu-MANA