A Good Defense for a Greater Yield


Posted March 23, 2016

Good yields stem from more than hard work, good soil and proper seed. Good yields are also the difference between a healthy, well fed and educated family, and exacerbated poverty, intensified malnutrition, and under-education. Yet, an often overlooked component for ensuring a good yield are much needed crop protection agents protecting the crop from diseases and pests such as aphids, beetles and other meddling insects. To obtain this crop protection, however, can be a daunting challenge for a smallholder farmer in Malawi.

A Good Defense for a Greater Yield

    
Captions: Left: discussion in the classroom ranges from good business practice, to safely handling and distributing pesticides and other toxic agricultural inputs; centre, Perry Ngoma delivers instruction about how to properly utilize a sprayer knapsack, Lilongwe, Malawi; right, armed with a protective uniform a training participant works to master the pace and delivery of a prayer knapsack in Lilongwe’s heat.

March 23, 2016,
Lilongwe, Malawi
 
Good yields stem from more than hard work, good soil and proper seed. Good yields are also the difference between a healthy, well fed and educated family, and exacerbated poverty, intensified malnutrition, and under-education. Yet, an often overlooked component for ensuring a good yield are much needed crop protection agents protecting the crop from diseases and pests such as aphids, beetles and other meddling insects. To obtain this crop protection, however, can be a daunting challenge for a smallholder farmer in Malawi.
 
Reasons for such a shortfall in crop defense are generally rooted in the fact that not only are pesticides, fungicides and aphicides perceived to be expensive, they also require a significant amount of training to be applied safely and effectively. Subsequently, smallholder farmers in Malawi – who often struggle to simply get seeds to furrow, are left without the means to effectively protect their family’s future. Truly a dreadful situation for any household provider.
 
Yet help is on the way. CropLife Malawi, with support from the UK Aid's Malawi Oilseed Sector Transformation programme (MOST), is working to provide the vital missing agricultural component that Malawi’s smallholder farmers need to move to the next level of output. CropLife Malawi has been facilitating Training of Trainers (ToT) courses that cover safe and effective crop spraying regimes as well as how to set up a Spray Service Provider (SSP) business. The trainers will then introduce equipment, safety training and the business model to budding entrepreneurs looking to initiate their own spray service businesses throughout rural Malawi.
 
In detail, the 5-day training examines issues such as correct and safe spraying techniques, such as how to calibrate the knapsacks; what to do in case of, and how to avoid in general, a medical emergency; and how, exactly, a SSP business works. To date 40 trainers have been trained as well as 32 SSPs in the pilot phase. ‘The objective of this training is to facilitate smallholder access to a safe and efficient spraying service, which translates into increased yields, greater food security and improved incomes’, he notes.
 
So, access to crop protection is on its way to Malawian smallholder farmers. And diminutive but profitable agricultural businesses are also finding a path to rural  towns and villages. Both of which are undoubtedly welcome and urgently needed. More importantly, perhaps, is that Malawi’s agricultural industry is starting to move forward and diversify. If not yet challenging tobacco, the soy, cotton, sunflower and groundnut sectors are beginning to legitimately chase Malawi’s primary export as the crop of choice in the country.  And these small business opportunities add a tiny brick at a time to the growing industry. Moreover, they also add protection for smallholder farmer’s crops.

Comments


There are no comments

Posting comments after three months has been disabled.