‘Embrace inter-cropping’

A land conservation organisation has urged farmers in the country  to grow a combination of different crops on the same piece of land to improve soil fertility and increase yield.

Farmers in the country are experiencing dwindling yields due to weather shocks, loss of soil fertility and population pressure.

A farmer who inter-cropped maize with grounduts

However, field trials Soils Food Healthy Communities (SFHC) conducted in Mzimba North show that intercropping would help farmers harvest more from their increasingly bleached fields.

Farmers taking part in the field experiment grew maize among legumes, a departure from growing the cereal alone.

Speaking during a field day in Kacheche, SFHC country director Laifolo Dakishoni said combining maize with legumes, including beans and groundnuts, is key to building sustainable, healthy, equitable, resilient communities.

“Maize yield in the area has been low, leaving the  farmers food insecure. The programme seeks to find a solution by establishing better combination of crops for the area. Farmer-led research in the past growing season shows that those who combined cereals and legumes harvested more,” he said.

Mzimba North district crop officer Misheck Chawala commended the non-governmental organisation for the trials which discourage the use of chemical fertliser that degrades soil.

According to village head Jozani, farmers are optimistic to overcome hunger and poverty if they embrace intercropping.

SFHC has reached 50 farmers in Traditional Authority Mtwalo under the six-country Innova Africa Programme bankrolled by the European Union (EU). n

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