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Tuesday, 24 February 2015 08:41

ARET urges farmers to grow new disease resistant tobacco varieties

Written by  Synd Kalimbuka

A host farmer expressing how good the varieties are 

Zomba, February 24: The Agriculture Research and Extension Trust (ARET) has advised farmers in the country to grow newly introduced barley tobacco varieties which are resistant to pests and diseases.

Deputy Director for Extension Specialist for ARET John Nyangulu made the remarks recently in Zomba during an annual Tobacco Field Day at Dzaone Extension Planning Area-EPA.

According to Nyangulu, ARET's Barley Hybrid varieties which include ABH 12, ABH31 and ABH 43 produce high quality leaves close to each other, grow fast, maintain weight and are resistant to nematodes and other diseases.

And as one way of mitigating effects of climate change, Nyangulu urged tobacco farmers to use water or the dry planting system.

Machinga ADD Program Manager, Getrude Kalinde Thaulo commended ARET for producing the new tobacco varieties, observing that they will help farmers to earn more from their labour.

However, Thaulo told Malawi News Agency that this year’s production had been compromised by heavy and continuous rains the country experienced.

"Production of various crops including tobacco have been compromised due to heavy and continuous rains we have experienced in Malawi," said Thaulo.

Thaulo said the Ministry of Agriculture was aware of the situation and will provide affected farmers with cassava cuttings and potatoes to plant.

One of the host farmers, Demister Chipanda shared his testimony on how the new varieties were performing.

Chipanda said the varieties dry fast as compared to other varieties, and despite the heavy rains the country has experienced, he expects to produce 15 bails this year,  a far higher tonnage than the previous years.

ARET is expected to hold 6 major field days and 150 minors across the country in order to sensitize farmers on the new hybrid varieties.

ARET was established in 1995 through the merger of Tobacco Research Institute of Malawi (TRIM) and Estate Extension Services Trust (EEST).


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