Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN)

HaSSP field day
Lilongwe, Malawi 19 March 2013
19 March 2013

The Food Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) in collaboration with its Country Partners in Malawi, the Civil Society Agriculture Network (CISANET) and the Association of Smallholder Seed Multiplication Action Group (ASSMAG) convened a field day under the auspices of the Harmonized Seed Security Project (HaSSP) with funding from the Swiss Development Corporation (SDC). The field day took place on Tuesday the 19th of March 2013 in the outskirts of Lilongwe City at Lumbadzi. The objectives of the field day were: to showcase seed production activities by ASSMAG Farmers conducted under the auspices of the HaSSP; to raise awareness on the importance of promoting smallholder seed systems for seed security as well as food security and; to share best practices in seed production amongst smallholder farmers.

The guest of honour was the Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Honourable Ulemu Chilapondwa who is also a Parliamentarian. Attendance at the field day included representatives from the Private Sector, international NGOs, local NGOs, farmer organizations, faith based organizations, community based organizations, the media fraternity (both electronic and print) as well the Public Sector with approximately 80 participants in total.

The highlights of the event were the field tours to various crop plots where Soy Bean Seed of Makwacha Variety belonging to Mrs. Kamangadazi Chambalo was the first to be toured. Mrs. Mary Gondwe's field of Groundnut seed, CG7 Variety, was the second to be toured. Both seed crops had a healthy plant stand, promising good prospects of high quality seed. Next on the tour was the Lumbadzi SMAG Demonstration Plot exhibiting Soy bean seed of Nasoko Variety, Groundnut seed of CG7 Variety, Maize seed of MZ623 Variety and Bean seed of Kalima Variety. Mr. Chimembe, the Lumbadzi SMAG Treasurer explained that this is where the SMAG members get to access extension and advisory services with regards to the agronomic practices to adhere to in their seed multiplication business. They receive technical backstopping services from the Department of Agricultural Research Services (DARS). Some of the farmers are also trained as para-inspectors who can do initial inspections of the seed crop with backstopping from DARS seed inspectors. The success story of one of the farmers who has diversified into livestock production with the proceeds realized from the seed multiplication business was also appreciated and a chance was accorded to the participants to tour the kraal where the livestock are reared. These included dairy cattle, sheep, goats, pigs and chickens.

The event was finally wrapped up with a formal ceremony where speeches were made and various entertaining activities were also showcased. The first speech was delivered by the Group Village Headman (GVH) Kulamula who mostly extended a welcome note to all participants while the second speech was made by Mrs. Mawaya, an ASSMAG representative who mainly talked about their success stories as well as their main challenges. Lumbadzi SMAGG Band led by Mr. Frazer then performed a song to spice up the function after which Mr. Nessimu Nyama provided a brief background of ASSMAG and HASSP. Dr. Bellah Mpofu the HaSSP Programme Manager then also made her speech on the objectives of HaSSP and how it has built the capacity of its respective implementers. This was followed by presentation of certificates and prizes to six of the farmers who had done exceedingly well in their seed multiplication business. To finally wrap up the event, the Guest of honour delivered his keynote address. A highlight of the speech was that his Ministry would take up the concerns and issues raised by the farmers, so as to address the challenges they are facing. He also provided a strong assurance that the Presidential Initiative (PI) and the Farm Input Subsidy Programme will provide a ready market for seed to the farmers, especially legumes guaranteeing them predictable demand.

HaSSP Field Day Malawi 19 March 2013

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