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Friday, 25 September 2015 20:16

Work in groups, LADD tells farmers

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Ntcheu, September 25, 2015: The Lilongwe Agriculture Development Division (LADD) has advised farmers in Ntcheu to work with associations and cooperatives for them to sell their produce in bulk and buy farm inputs at better prices.

The LADD covers Ntcheu, Dedza and Lilongwe districts.

Speaking Thursday at an agriculture fair at Chipula Primary School Ground, Deputy Programme Manager for LADD, Umdelanji Mbandambanda said the biggest problem farmers complain about is accessing markets for their produce because they operate as individuals.

“There are potential buyers of farm produce, but these buyers are interested in buying in bulk and this can only be achieved if farmers work in associations and cooperatives as they can have bargain power,” said Mbandambanda.

He advised farmers against selling all their crops, saying famers should only sell their produce if they feel they have surplus such as food to take them throughout the year.

“You should also as farmers produce both cash and commercial crops as they complement each other when the need arises,” Mbandambanda said.

He advised farmers to practise crop diversification as a climate change coping mechanism.

Earlier, Chairperson for Ntcheu District Agriculture Extension Coordinating Committee, Charles Tepeka, said his committee decided to organize the fair to provide a forum for farmers through which they could share best agricultural practices for improvement of the agriculture sector in the district.

“During such fairs, farmers interact with agro-dealers and other private agricultural service providers, including banks which provide loans to farmers,” said Tepeka.

The fair was organized by Ntcheu District Agriculture Extension Coordinating Committee with financial assistance from National Small Holder Farmers’ Association, Catholic Development Commission of Malawi of Dedza Diocese, Agora, Opportunity International Bank of Malawi, Christian Orphan Out- Reach Mission and Lipangwe Organic Manure Demonstration Farm, among others.

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