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Farmers Advised to Switch to Commercial Agriculture

Farmers displaying their produce during the fair Farmers displaying their produce during the fair

Lilongwe District Council has asked farmers to commercialise their agricultural productivity by, among other things, adding value to their produce and making it stand competitively on the international market.

The council’s chairperson, Dan Ntayamanja was speaking Tuesday, the first day of a two-day agriculture fair held at the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR)- Bunda campus in Lilongwe District.

Nthayamanja said many farmers in the country fail to find benefits from their agricultural activities because they do not add value to their produce.

“Let me take this opportunity to ask officials from the Ministry of Agriculture and other partners that are here to intensify training among local farmers on how they can add value to their produce so that they realise more benefits from their farming,” he said.

Ntayamanja further asked the Ministry of Agriculture to ensure that there are readily available markets where local farmers can sell their produce instead of selling them to vendors at a loss.

Lilongwe District Council Director of Agriculture, Environment and Natural Resources Ezra Mbendera said his ministry is geared to provide training on how local farmers can add value to their produce and sell them within and outside the country.

“There are many markets within and outside the country, but what is needed is farmers to produce quality produce that can stand competition both on local and international markets,” he said.

One of the farmers at the event, Agness Mbewe, commended the Ministry of Agriculture for assuring them on the availability of farm produce markets, saying ready markets for farm produce could end their poverty in due course.

She observed that many local farmers produce a lot but do not enjoy the benefits of their work due to a lack of knowledge and skills on value addition.

The agriculture fair, which was conducted under the theme ‘Agriculture Commercialisation - a key to Improved Food and Income Security’ drew together local farmers and different organisations such as Bayer Malawi, SeedCo, Farmers Union of Malawi (FUM) and Farm Radio.

(By Martha Simchimba, Mana, Lilongwe)

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