ONE TO ONE MAIZE PLANTING TRANSFORMS FAMILY
The low fertility exacerbated by soil degradation has affected many farmers in Malawi. Farmers work hard by doing all they can to have a bumper yield but end up being frustrated. The family of Mr. and Mrs. Namanya of Traditional Authority Ntchema, Group Village Headman Masauli in Chiradzulu District were also among many farmers who never made ends meet due to low production. “For the past many years, I and my wife had been harvesting less than 5 fifty kilogram bags of maize from our half acres piece of land despite applying the required efforts” explained a frustrated 26 year old Namanya.
When KULIMA BETTER was introduced in Chiradzulu district, Namanya joined Tiyese FFS in 2018. During that year’s growing season, Tiyese FFS did a study to compare maize variety performance by comparing Mapasa (DK8033), Mkango (SC627) and Kanyani (SC 403) maize varieties. During their studies, they found out that Mkango maize variety when planted one per planting station performed better than the others e three.
Namanyas realised that they were not producing much due to poor farming practices of planting 4 seeds per planting station which according to him, increased food competition among plants as he learnt from Tiyese FFS studies. “In the past years, I was planting 4 and at some planting stations 5 which I was thinking it would increase harvest from my half acres land. Little did I know that I was shooting myself on the foot” groaned Namanya, a father of 4.
Namanya made a decision to plant one plant per planting station at the spacing of 25cm between plants and 75cm between ridges. They both agreed to practice the technology on a quarter acres of their half acres land. Namanya and his wife replicated the procedure he learnt from Tiyese FFS during 2018/2019 growing season.
“This year, using the same piece of land and farm inputs we had been using, we are expected harvest not less than twelve 50 kilogram bags of maize comparing to 5 harvested in previous year. On a quarter acres land, we planted one plant per planting station, we expect to harvest twice as much than on another quarter where we planted 4 per station. This has been possible because there was reduced competition of food among plants on the side we planted one plant per station” added smilingly the joyful Namanya.
“This year we are planning to cover the whole piece of land with the new planting technology so that we harvest more and part of it will be sold for us to roof our house with iron sheets” revealed a 25 year old optimistic mother of 4 .