The Vice President and Country Director of the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World, Dr. Candida Nakhumwa says farmers across the country (Malawi) are responding well in-terms of diversifying from relying on Tobacco only as a cash crop to other alternative value chains.

Dr. Nakhumwa made the remarks on Wednesday, 24 April 2024 at NRC – CAT Smart Farm during a farmer field day which was organized by the Centre for Agricultural Transformation (CAT) under the theme “Smallholder Farmers Crop Diversification Key for Mitigating Climate Change Shocks.”

Dr. Nakhumwa says they are overwhelmed with the response from farmers after they started working with CAT (five years ago), having seen a lot of farmers diversifying to other alternative crops like Soyabeans, Groundnuts, Cassava just to mention a few.

“You know, farmers are rational human beings. They can see the changes that are happening out there. They know that the market for tobacco is affected. They know that climate is changing. And all they need is a little bit of support in terms of knowledge, but also information as to what is it that we can do. And through the CAT, we are excited to answer your question that there’s a lot of change that we’ve seen that farmers are actually adopting. Behind me, you can see that there is a banana crop, a very good banana crop. In the past, people used to think you can only grow bananas, maybe along (districts of) Thyolo, Mulanje, or Nkhatabay in the Northern Region (of Malawi). But now it’s exciting to see farmers in Central Region growing bananas,” Dr. Nakhumwa explained.

She added by commending CAT for promoting both improved productivity, value addition as well as linking farmers to readily available markets.

“Farmers will always want to ask, if I grow bananas, for example, do I have a readily available market for this? And we want them to be introduced to those markets. And in doing that, they are encouraged to actually diversify. Farmers want to be assured that there is a readily available market for what they are producing. So, the response has been very good, and I’m happy that that’s also in line with what, you know, we’ve stipulated on our own in Malawi 2063,” She added.

The Smoke Free World Vice President and Country director expressed her optimism that crop diversification is also a key to mitigating the impact of climate change.

In his remarks, CAT Executive Director, Macleod Nkhoma re-affirmed their continued commitment in ensuring that farmers are equipped with new technologies that will help them increase production, as well as start earning profits through farming business.

Among others, Nkhoma thanked the Foundation for a Smoke Free World through the Agricultural Transformation Initiative (ATI) for their continued support towards the program’s, CAT is undertaking in the country.

The Farmer Field Day brought together various lead farmers across the country, government officials as well as private partners to appreciate different technologies available at NRC – CAT smart farm.


By Lester Mhone