DAES Worry on Low Funding
The Department of Agriculture Extension Services (DAES) in the ministry of agriculture says inadequate financing into extension services coupled with shortage of extension workers is affecting their service delivery to the country's agriculture sector.
Assistant Chief Agriculture Extension Officer at DAES, Blessings Susuwele says currently one extension officer is serving over 2500 farmers instead of the recommended figure of 750 farmers which affects quality of advisory services.
Susuwele said this on Monday in the area of Traditional Authority Nkula in Machinga during the graduation ceremony of 110 farmers under the Farmer Field School (FFS) implemented under Malawi Watershed Services Improvement Project (MWASIP) to equip the farmers with cost-effective ways of improving food security.
"We don't have many staff on the ground which is manifested when each officer serves over 2500 farmers instead of 750 farmers. In other areas our officers are serving 3000 farmers each," said Susuwele.
Principal Agriculture Training Officer who is also MWASIP desk officer, Boniface Kautare, says through the skills given, the farmers will individually partake in research to deal with challenges they face.
"We hope to the farmers will find it easy to deal with agriculture challenges they face as they have been fully equipped with several skills in research," noted Kautare.
One of the graduating farmers at the event, Fatima Ndolo says the training has equipped her on how to deal with fall army worms that have been affecting crops for the past years.
Similar graduation is expected to be held in Zomba and Neno.