By MEYASE NYIRONGO
GOVERNMENT says smallholder farmers need to adopt new technologies and farming techniques that are being taught by extension staff and project cooperating partners.
District Agricultural Coordinator for Mumbwa District, Nicholus Mainza, noted that incorporating agricultural technology and techniques in relation with climate change is a way of increasing productivity which contributes to increased household incomes.
Mr Mainza said this during a recent workshop where the Ministry of Agriculture in partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, with funding from the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear safety (BMUB) is implementing the Building the Basis for Implementing the Save and Grow approach regional strategies on sustainable and climate-resilient intensification of cropping systems project.
“Save and grow is a broad-based approach to environmentally friendly, sustainable agriculture aimed at intensifying production, protecting and enhancing the agricultural natural resource base. The approach also refers to an array of techniques aimed at reducing the reliance on chemical inputs by tapping into natural biological and ecosystem processes to produce more with less, and thus increase farmers’ income,” Mr Mainza said.
He urged the farmers to fully utilize the resources that are given through the project such as improved sustainable intensification cropping systems, access to agronomic production systems, improved market, and mechanization access.
“As smallholder farmers, we need to practice what we are trained through these projects by replicating the lessons from the farmer field schools into their own farms,” Mr Mainza added.
Mr Mainza stated that farmers should take advantage of the mechanization services and equipment (Oil expeller) that FAO donated to Mumbwa district Save and Grow project hub to increase productivity.
He said that there is need for farmers to ensure continuity and sustainability of the project by sharing information with fellow smallholder farmers even when the project comes to an end.
FAO Save and Grow Project Manager, Renose Shula emphasized that it is important for smallholder farmers to incorporate mechanization in their way of farming as it helps contain the effects of climate change on agriculture.
Mr Shula noted that FAO has keen interest in ensuring that smallholder farmers effectively utilize the mechanization services to increase productivity.
He added that two machines have been donated to Mumbwa district under the Save and Grow project which are a palette grinding machine to make animal feed and an oil expeller worth K58,000 bringing the total for both machines to over K100,000.
“These machines are expected to be used by farmers to add value to the crops that are cultivated,” Mr Shula said.
And Mumbwa District Nakamu Hub Chairperson, Timothy Chipesha, thanked FAO for the continued support and trainings that have been conducted on climate smart agriculture.
Mr Chipesha added that the hub members will not disappoint Ministry of Agriculture and FAO as they will work hard to ensure that all agricultural practices are implemented by smallholder farmers in the district. -NAIS
By MEYASE NYIRONGO