The 13th National Agriculture fair left so many questions in the participants’ minds – the theme “Climate Smart Agriculture”, sounded quite unusual. It sent brains thinking as to what is expected of this theme? What will it take for one to mount an award winning display? What will the judges look for in their assessment? NASFAM was not spared from such questions. Luckily, the responsible team had an answer to all this, and they won an award for the third consecutive year, seventh overall, fourth as the best agro-processor.
The exhibition organising chairperson Ms Beatrice Makwenda says the 3rd consecutive win cements the organisation’s motto – ‘the future belongs to the organised’.
“NASFAM embraced the principle of continuous improvement and innovation in its services to the smallholder farmers. What NASFAM showcases at the agricultural fair is what NASFAM does with its membership across the 22 districts in Malawi. When we showcase, we showcase with conviction that the technologies are transformative in nature and we have seen them working for the betterment of smallholder farmers.
“The winners are the smallholder farmers that make up NASFAM and can demonstrate the impact and exhibit what they practice in their own gardens. So winning for NASFAM, is not at the fair, we win in the farms”, says Beatrice Makwenda.
In line with the theme, NASFAM modelled a village practicing CSA, taking the attention of many people patronising the pavilion.
Makwenda explains the model: “NASFAM promotes a holistic package to smallholder farmers in order to realize triple benefits in income, food and nutrition security, and environmental sustainability for individual households, communities and the nation. The CSA model showcases agricultural diversification, tree planting (including natural tree regeneration), agroforestry, conservation agriculture, irrigation, soil and water conservation and livestock integration. It also calls for collective action at village level to enhance the benefits of economies of scale with CSA practical application.”
According to NASFAM, climate change impacts negatively on smallholder productivity, as such, CSA presents a package of interventions that guarantee and improve crop yields and quality.
“Agro-processing requires a steady supply of produce in order to sustain market access. NASFAM farmers are business conscious and as such, incremental gain from agricultural production is secured through increasing production and productivity which the CSA model advances”, concluded Makwenda.
President of the Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI) Karl Chokotho, shares the same view as that of NASFAM. He says, “Climate change has affected agricultural production negatively such that when farmers harvest, they think of consumption before the market. CSA is the solution to such challenges.
NASFAM has won seven awards in total since the event was introduced. They won the trophy in 2008, 2009, 2012, 2014, and 2015 in addition to 2016.