Collaborating for enhanced agricultural extension services for sustainable agricultural production and productivity
Under the European Union funded KULIMA programme, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has since 2018 worked collaboratively with the Government of Malawi on farmer field school implementation to enhance agricultural extension and advisory services with the aim of improving agricultural production and productivity.
Agriculture in Malawi is characterized by low production and productivity. Smallholder farmers face multiple challenges, including the negative impacts of climate change- flooding, prolonged dry spells and droughts, unreliable rainfall patterns, and the emergence of pests and diseases such as the fall armyworm and banana bunchy top disease. Agricultural advisory services therefore offer critical support for smallholder farmers in the face of such challenges.
Farmer field school (FFS) is recognized by Government, in the National Agricultural Extension Service strategy, as one of the strengths of the agricultural extension and advisory services subsectors. This year on 4th and 11th March 2022, sixty-two (62) agricultural extension workers and ninety-two (92) lead farmers graduated as farmer field school (FFS) master trainers (MT) and Community-Based Facilitators (CBF) respectively, from the FFS master trainers (MT) course, under the KULIMA Programme.
“Farmer field schools are essential in promoting agricultural technologies and good agricultural practices in the face of many challenges facing the agricultural sector in Malawi,” said the Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Dalitso Wirima Kambauwa. She added that the Ministry of Agriculture promotes the use of FFS to build capacity of farmers to achieve household food, income and nutrition security.