Malawi, Farm Radio Trust, Self Help Africa, ARL- Agricultural Resources Limited, IFPRI-Malawi, DAES, and FOL-Farmers Organization Limited organized the Farmers Conference which took place in Lilongwe district from 18th to 19th September 2018.
Farmers from Mchinji district, Nkhatabay, Nkhotakota, Blantyre, Ntcheu, Lilongwe and Kasungu were invited to take part in this Farmers conference. The function started with big walk which took to the streets of Lilongwe city centre just to show their commitment and displayed some of placards that tell some of the farmers concerns.
Professor George Kanyama Phiri who is the Vice Chancellor of Luanar was the guest of honor at the function. The guest of honor admiring some of the products that Feed the future Malawi was showcasing.
Why MAFAAS has engaged Farmers?
Malawi has an agro based economy. Over 80% of its population are farmers of different categories (smallholder, medium and large scale farmers). Farmers play a great role in the economy of the nation. Different players including government and farmer organizations work towards addressing the challenges faced by farmers to harness opportunities within the agricultural value chains. Despite the country having a number of platformsdiscussing different issues affecting human life, farmers are rarely provided with opportunities to engage various stakeholders and have their voice heard. It was agreed during the 2017 MaFAAS extension week that farmers must always be accorded an opportunity to engage with various partners whenever there is a MaFAAS function. It is against this background that stakeholders under the Malawi Forum for Agricultural Advisory Services (MaFAAS)have considered a Farmers day in the 2018 asFarmers Conference.
What are Focus Areas for the Farmers’ Engagement?
The Theme for the 2018 MaFAAS1stFarmers Conference is “HearFarmers’Voicesfor Agricultural Transformation”. One of the subthemes is “Farmer Engagement”.This subtheme focuses on;
a) Linking Associations, cooperatives to markets
b) Value addition and processing
c) Farmer, extension, research linkage
d) Access to finance
e) Access to extension services
f) Access to land
g) Farmers Participation in various value chains.
Farmers taking part in discussion at Luanar in Lilongwe.
Farmers’ issues are everyone’s concern. Different players came together to make the day a success. These include:
• Farmers (smallholder, medium and large scale)
• Government officials – from different ministries and departments
• Farmer organizations
• Private Sector (buyers, bankers, processors, lending institutions, input suppliers, mobile phone service providers)
• Students, Academic and Research Institutions
To get farmers input into relevant policies such as Land, Extension and NAIP.