Centre for Agricultural Transformation CAT has trained 75 selected lead farmers and agricultural extension workers from the districts of Kasungu, Mchinji, Nkhotakota, Ntcheu and Lilongwe in Agri-Technology, Innovation and Market Access.
The training which started on 8th November 2023, centered on four value chain crops of Soyabeans, Sunflower, Groundnuts and Cassava.
The lead farmers have been drilled to always prepare a farming calendar which they should be recording everything used per season so that they know if they are making profits or not.
CAT executive director, Macleod Nkhoma said in an interview that they organized the training with the aim of imparting knowledge to the lead farmers on proper farming practices so that they should also pass the same knowledge to small-holder farmers whom they are working with.
“As most of you might be aware, one of our value chains of Soyabean, there was this problem that we had last season of soyabean rust and realizing that, we said maybe before the season starts we need to empower the lead farmers that we invited here at NRC Smart Farm, so that we train them and when they go back to their communities they also train their farmers just prior to the season starting,” Nkhoma said.
Nkhoma cited that they have also trained lead farmers on the area of market access as they improve productivity.
“The idea is we need to empower our farmers to increase productivity, they need to know the area of market access. Our farmers now having worked with CAT, we have seen improvement on yields from one unit of land that they cultivate. But knowing that Market access is also not enough, we have also covered the area of finance so that they know where they can get funding to enhance their business,” he added.
Grace Banda, one of the lead farmers who attended the training from kasungu, Aguja Mtunthama EPA, was all joyful on her face as she has learnt the new farming technologies that will help them to have more yields from a small piece of land.
She says the knowledge gained during the training will be impactful to 35 fellow lead farmers and 328 farmers who are in a cooperative.
CAT conducted the training at NRC Smart Farm in Lilongwe from 8th to 10th November 2023, with funding from the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World through Agricultural Transformation Initiative.
By Lester Mhone