The Malawi Oilseeds Sector Transformation (Most) on Thursday launched an initiative in agricultural innovations from a farmer perspective as one way of promoting productivity in the oilseed sector.
Speaking at the launching ceremony held at Crossroads Hotel in Lilongwe, MOST Interventions Manager Towera Jalakasi said the event aims at bringing together different stakeholders in the agricultural sector and market to showcase their innovations.
“There are several stakeholders in the agricultural sector which are inventing a number of things that would benefit the sector. But the problem is that most of them are working in isolation.
So this event initiative will help to bring such stakeholders together and be able to showcase those innovations and explain why they think it is an innovation,” Jalakasi said.
She further said this initiative is different from traditional agricultural trade fairs as it will showcase things that are changing their lives and that of the general society in achieving maximum productivity efficiently.
“In trade fairs, stakeholders showcase only what they are doing. But in this event, we want to promote the showcasing of innovations or things that are changing the lives of individuals and the society for the better
“By innovation, we are talking of those things that make any agricultural activity to be done better, faster and in a cheaper than other traditional means. So by innovation, we are looking at the balance between these three,” she said.
Jalakasi further said that her organization thinks that in the next five years, the country should have a number of innovations lying in people’s homes and in their organizations.
“We want people to these innovations out and be able to point out how such innovations have taken Malawi forward and influenced everybody to use them,” Jalakasi said.
The agricultural innovation event was epitomized by the launch of a machine for threshing and shelling different farm produce. The machine called Damasso Thresher, developed by a Mponela-based commercial farmer Tomas Damasso, is billed as one of best innovation as it is better and faster than manual labour in shelling and threshing crops like rice, soya beans, sunflower and pigeon peas.
Director of Crop Development in the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development Dr Godfrey Ching’oma lauded the introduction of this innovation approach saying it will help to advance farm mechanization which this country need most in improving its social and economic development.
Ching’oma said the event comes at a right time when the government and particularly the ministry are supporting promoting innovations in the economic growth of the country.
“It is only innovation that will move agriculture forward, make us competitive in the world market and create opportunities for all Malawians. If we do not become innovative in agriculture, we risk losing our market share to other countries that are innovative,” Ching’oma said.
MOST, a programme supported by the Department for International Development (DFID) is engaged in a number of interventions to boost productivity in the oilseed sector and its value chains.
According to MOST, this newly launched agricultural innovation from a farmer’s perspective event will be conducted annually.
Source: Malawi News Agency