Farmers reap benefits from farming project

Some farmers say they are reaping benefits from their crops, thanks to a project called Market-oriented Smallholder Horticulture Empowerment and Promotion (Ma-Shep) being implemented by Japanese International Cooperation Agency (Jica) in the country.

Mndila Irrigation Scheme chairperson, Akimu Mangeni, who is working under the project in Dowa, said in an interview on Monday that through the project, farmers are empowered with skills to identify markets for their crops.

“We have been trained to understand marketing of our farm produce and we are now able to identify markets for the produce at good prices,” he said.

Mangeni said farmers have been trained to plant crops which are on high demand on the market, observing that before the project, farmers were facing challenges on where to sell their produce at good prices.

“Before the project, we were planting our crops on a big area, but we were harvesting less and low quality products.

“With the project, we are doing our farming on a small piece of land, but we are able to harvest more and good quality products,” he said.

Mangeni said he has bought livestock and built a house due to the project.

Ma-Shep project manager, Pearson Soko, who is also assistant chief agribusiness officer in the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, said the project aims at building capacity of agricultural extension officers and empowering smallholder famers with new farming skills.

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