By Mphatso Nkuonera
LILONGWE-(MANA)- Foundation for a Smoke Free World (FSFW) has dared farmers in the country to venture in banana production in order to reduce importation of the product and win food security.
Country Director for FSFW, Dr. Candida Nakhumwa, made the appeal on Thursday, November 4, 2021 at Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR) Bunda Smart farm campus, that with Support from Agriculture Transformation Initiative (ATI) with the hope to achieve a huge banana production in the country.
“We are targeting local farmers in several districts in Malawi to promote banana cultivation. In one year the crop will be ready for harvesting, the suckers we have start giving results immediately after seven months and for the next ten years with easy care.
“We cannot continue importing bananas from Tanzania when we have the capacity to cultivate them right in our country and farmers are ready to do it.
“FSFW, is providing farmers with clean sackers which are hybrid and fast yielding once they are planted, let us all look at this as an opportunity so that we complement government efforts on winning food security and turning Malawi into a food basket,” Nakhumwa said.
Due to various banana diseases Malawi saw its hotpot banana growing districts of Thyolo, therefore FSFW dared farmers on banana production to reduced importation Mulanje, Karonga and Nkhatabay to lose huge plantations that resulted into importing banana for consumption from neighboring Tanzania.
Nakhumwa assured farmers that there is a huge demand of banana in country that even main shops are stocking them for sell.
She added that those interested are getting clean banana sackers from FSFW/ATI at MK1, 5000 and some at MK800 so that they can easily get them for intensive banana production so that in turn we turn things around to shift from depending on tobacco as main food cash crop to other crops, that easily fetch a lot of money at the market.
One of the farmers Prince Chiwoko from Bunda main farm said that secured one hectare of land which they have planted plantains already.
“We have planted 1800 live stations and we expect this kind of farming to change our lives. The bananas have already started maturing which gives us a clear hope that we will harvest more and from the sales lives will improve tremendously,” he said.
Representing LUANAR Dr. Moses Chinyama lauded Centre for Agriculture Transformation (CAT) for implementing the farming technologies that have already started bearing fruits.
“There is great change provable impact through the farming technologies that are been implemented here.
LUANAR find this initiative very commendable bearing in mind the fact that the back bone of this university is farming and conducts various research activities to promote agriculture in the country,” he said.
LUANAR gave 70 hectares of land at both Bunda and NRC compasses to encourage this initiative.
CAT through a grant from the Foundation for a Smoke-free World (FSFW) with support from the Agricultural Transformation Initiative (ATI), organized a Winter Crop Demo Field Tour targeting smallholder farmers, youths, and the media to appreciate agricultural activities is implementing in Malawi.
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