09 August 2020
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Thursday, 27 September 2018 15:31

Machinga District Council holds Agriculture fair

Written by  Patrick Ndawala & Demetria Banda

Machinga, September 23, 2018: Machinga District Council recently partnered with Emmanuel International to hold a district-agriculture fair where small scale farmers interfaced with potential buyers and financial institutions.

The two-day fair ran from Wednesday to Thursday under the theme, 'Access to finance, value addition and markets- a key to improved community livelihood.'

Chairperson for Machinga District Council Magret Uladi described the fair as a window of opportunity for farmers to gain knowledge and skills of marketing their produce.

She said many small scale farmers have not profited from farming despite producing yield of high quality and quantity.

"Finding a good market for farm produce has been a challenge to many farmers. We believe this agriculture fair will help them to find a good market," she explained.

Uladi, who is also a councilor for Nkoola Ward in Machinga, said the council has teamed up with other partners to train farmers in value addition.

She, however, urged financial lending institutions to be accessible to farmers by offering them soft loans.

"Most farmers fail to access loans from banks and other lending institutions because of conditions attached," she said.

The chairperson then asked government and other development partners to make agriculture extension services available to farmers.

She explained that farmers are still practicing traditional farming because they don't have access to extension services.

Uladi, however, commended Emmanuel International through Njira Project for uplifting lives of farmers through capacity building and provision of farm inputs.

Programs Manager for Njira Project, Symon Maseko, said his organization decided to sponsor the agriculture fair to bring together all value chain actors in the agriculture industry.

He explained that agriculture fairs are a pathway to food security as they are aimed at reducing food insecurity.

"We want farmers to take farming as a business; therefore, this fair provided them a platform to interact with potential buyers of their produce. Farmers will have a chance of talking to potential buyers and suppliers of farm inputs," he said.

The agriculture fair was patronised by banks, mobile service providers and suppliers of farm inputs.


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