Ministry Urges Farmers to Plant With First Rains

By Lameck Kwalimba

The Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development has urged farmers across the country to plant with the first rains, seed varieties which mature quickly and follow instructions by extension workers in an attempt to counter erratic rains.

Speaking in Lilongwe on Tuesday, the Ministry’s Public Relations Officer, Priscilla Mateyu, emphasized that government will continue to put in place interventions aimed at addressing irregular rainfall patterns to ensure that agricultural productivity is attained.

“Our extension workers have been well equipped with all this information and they are ready to help farmers out there to enable this country produce more yield,” said Mateyu.

This development comes approximately a month after the Department of Climate Change and Meteorological Services (DCCMS) announced that some parts of the country will receive normal to above normal while others will receive normal to below normal rainfall according to the 2019/2020 agricultural season weather forecast.

However, the director for Permaculture Paradise Institute (PPI), who is also the 2019 Climate Change Champion nominee of the European Union Delegation to Malawi, Luwayo Biswick, has stressed that what is needed is not dealing with the plant but an approach that embraces ecological practices which help farmers harvest even in times of irregular weather patterns. 

“What we need is redesigning our agricultural system, so that it’s able to adapt, resist and recover quickly to the changing of the climate,” said Biswick.

Biswick who has been practicing ecological farming for over eight years bemoans the fact that the agricultural approach of modifying the plant to suit environmental conditions has caused a lot of implications.  

“You know we’ve been changing the crops to be drought tolerant, we’ve been changing the crops to be early maturing but most of these seeds are hybrid and that has implications, a lot of implications, cost implications upon the poor farmers,” lamented Biswick.

According to an article by Greenpeace International, ecological farming is a type of agriculture that ensures healthy food production while protecting the soil, water and climate by denying the use of high chemical inputs or genetically engineered crops.

It places at its very heart farmers and consumers rather than the corporations who control the food industry presently. -MANA