“Growing healthy winter maize through improved farming practices”
Kalebe farmers club with 25 members from Mpamantha, Village headman Kalebe in T/A Malenga chanzi in Nkhotakota has been facing challenges in farming due to lack of technical support on extension service as such they were doing farming with old farming practices hence they were experiencing low yields. In 2018 the club did winter cropping of Maize in their one acre plot but they had a problem of fall army worm to the point that they spent more money on buyig pesticides which did not solve the problem hence they incured losses as they did not even harvest the dried maize they just sold it as mondokwa which also its income was not enough compared to the expectures on the plot. Hence in 2019 the club did not even bother to do the winter cropping for Maize on their club plot because they lost hope of having Hearthy maize crop.
When FOCCAD came this year in January providing us with technical support on agricultural extension services, our club have received the support on different topics such as early pranting, using eary maturing varieties, correct plant spacing, also sessions on soil and water conservation methods such as using ditches, canals , mulching, post harvesting management which involv taking care of crops from the field to storage. We took it upon ourselves to do winter cropping for Maize in our one acre club plot as maize did not do well this year in our area and apply the knowledge gained during the sessions.
“We planted Kanyani variety of maize on 1st May,2020 using Sasakawa method, we made ditches and canals for easy watering and we innovated the use of plastic papers with our small pipe so that every member should take part during watering. We continued to receive technical suppport from FOCCAD where advice on management of the plot was given on each field visit. When the maize was at knee length we observed fall army worm in the field as such it was devastating to think that we will also lose our maize this year, however through FOCCAD we were advised on the correct pesticides to apply and the correct time to apply them, we followed the advise and our maize grew well up to the point now that it has maize cobs that in two weeks time will be matured. Since the time we applied the fall army worms were not seen anymore which was to our advantage as we did not buy other pesticides hence reducing costs as the cost that was incured was on buying fertilizer” said Mr Phiri one of the club members.
“We have realized MK274,000 after selling the green maize in bulk which is more than previously where we could only manage to get MK102,000 and we were just selling anyhow. We are planning to buy farm inputs for rain season to do rainy season cropping on the same plot and also share the returns equally among the members and also out of it we have learnt a lot which we will be able to practice in our own plots. Our goal is that each and every member should have food and income in their households to support the children and also to practice these improved practices in our own plots during rain season as now we have learnt how they works. Now we are leading as an example in our community as other people are learning from us as at firs they thoutht that we will not reach this far with our maize plot” said Mr Kalebe a club member and also achief of the village.