NASFAM Accords Farmers Choice of Best Crops from Trial Sites

Bazale Extension Planning Area had a chance to sample performance of different maize and soybeans varieties Bazale Extension Planning Area had a chance to sample performance of different maize and soybeans varieties - pic by Moses Masiye

National Smallholder Farmers Association of Malawi (NASFAM) has urged farmers in Balaka to make use of the trial fields to choose best crops suitable for their areas amid climate change challenges affecting many of them.

NASFAM Agriculture Extension Officer in Balaka, Cathrine Mitepa, says they set up several trial fields so as to allow farmers have the chance to choose best seed according to performance and areas.

"Seed company SEEDCO assisted us with different maize varieties which our lead farmers planted across the district so as to allow farmers choose from what they see for themselves," said Mitepa.

She said over the weekend after a community in Pyoli section of Bazale extension planning area had a chance to sample performance of different maize and soybeans varieties to take home their pick according to satisfaction.

One of the lead farmers Martha Amidu said she opted for SC 537 Mbidzi which did extremely well in her area and is compelled to grow that early maturing and big cob variety next growing season.

"This is the best way of extension whereby we are able to choose for ourselves what seed is suitable for our areas and what is profitable than imposing on us," said Amidu.

Mtiyesanji Njeza - Kamanga, Agriculture Extension Development Officer for Bazale Extension Planning Area, says the trial fields have eased their extension work as farmers learn practically than reaching them theoretically.

"We are reaching more farmers through these trial sites as we cannot manage to reach them physically due to understaffing," said Njeza- Kamanga.

She also advised farmers who planted early maturing varieties to regularly inspect their crops especially this time around when rains did prolong to prevent damage.

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