By Wanangwa Tembo – Mana
National Initiative for Civic Education (NICE) Trust has asked farmers to be steadfast in adopting new farming methods in order to shrug off climatic changes that threaten agricultural productivity.
NICE District Civic Education Officer for Kasungu, Pilirani Chaguza told communities in Group Village Headwoman (GVH) Chilamphuma in Kasungu North Constituency during a mindset change sensitisation rally on Monday that the country’s perennial hunger could be dealt with if farmers adopt new farming methods in respect to the changing climate.
He said that, “We are all aware that our growing season is largely affected by unprecedented weather changes that have in turn reduced our yield. In some cases we experience heavy destructive rains and sometimes prolonged droughts.This is a strong signal that climate change is real, and that also calls for change in the way we approach our farming.
“We need to reduce our over reliance on rain-fed agriculture by venturing into irrigation farming. Equally we need to stop depending on inorganic fertilisers by making manure. We have extension workers in our respective communities; let’s engage them so that they teach us some tricks about new farming methods including manure making, food preservation and diversification.”
According to Chaguza, to achieve agricultural commercialisation – one of the three pillars anchoring the Malawi 2063 communities must change their mindset on approaches to farming.
“The mindset that we can only cultivate crops when it is rainy season is retrogressive. The thinking that we can only produce crops using fertilisers provided by government is equally suicidal. We need to come out of this thinking if we are to make our homes food secure and achieve prosperity.
“There is no way we can create wealth when we rely on subsidizes and handouts. We must hate being poor and stop being excited with handouts and subsidies because one day these will not be there. We must lay a foundation that can sustain wealth without relying on others,” he said.
GVH Chilamphuma asked farmers in the area to take advantage of the available agriculture extension workers in the area to seek knowledge about new farming technologies that can help boost yield.
She said most challenges faced in communities can be dealt with if the community members themselves take charge of their affairs by putting to practice the skills imparted to them by various stakeholders.
“We must also learn to demand services from our duty bearers regarding what we want. For example, if we want to learn how to make manure, we must invite the extension workers. They will not come on their own as some services are demand driven,” Chilamphuma said.
The activity tackled issues of hygiene and sanitation and child rights and protection.
With funding from government, Nice is conducting activities countrywide to popularize Malawi 2063 and help to change the way people think and do things in a quest to graduate the country from being a low and donor-dependent country to a middle income and self-reliant nation.