Malawi Forum for Agricultural Advisory Services visited a farmer field school in Lilongwe on their mission of knowledge management and sharing. The extension advisory service provider Mrs. Monique Mandala took the team to a most surprising and educative place Phanga Village where there is Phanga Farmer Field School. It’s all smiles
for small holder farmers from Phanga Village in Lilongwe District who belongs to Phanga Farmer Field School where they have been taught and are practicing Climate Smart Agriculture. Upon encountering Climate Change effects, the farmers were encouraged to join the Farmer Field School so that they learn how to overcome the effects.
This Farmer Field School started in 2016, the need for the FSS started as a demanded solution to Climate change which negatively affected their yields due to drought. Upon facing the challenges of Climate Change, the farmers approached an Extension Officer for their area to assist them to start a field school where they can learn how to overcome their situations. This followed a demand driven extension delivery system.
Lessons, were climate change centered how to overcome the Climate Change effects by practicing Climate Smart Agriculture. After learning on the Filed School they have been practicing the same on their individual fields. One of scholars on the Field school, Thomas Chimbalame lamented that his life has improved tremendously since they have been practicing Climate Smart Agriculture.
Some of the practices these scholars are practicing on their individual fields are; conservation Agriculture, Conservation agriculture with zero tillage and mulching Agroforestry, using of manure and zero tillage. The farmers lives have changed since practicing these mitigation measures, their farm land has become fertile due to incorporation of organic matter from decomposing soil cover. Zero tillage is preventing soil erosion which comes after floods and the soil covers they use have made the soils fertile.
The farmers also said that their health has improved since they don’t overwork since they started practicing Conservation Agriculture and one of the women farmers said they can even perform their wifely duties without any problems unlike before they started Climate Smart Agriculture which mostly requires less labor.
The farmers of Phanga field school also practices agroforestry and they even have trees on their back yards. Due to practicing of Smart Agriculture they farmers have been yielding bumper harvests which have rendered almost all of them to buy goats and some both goats and pigs. These farmers also sells the goats and have proper income at their
households and buy whatever they like, their families are also healthy due to eating nutritious meat and drinking milk from the goats and they use the manure from livestock in their fields. All the farmers on this Farmer Filed School have their houses with corrugated iron sheets. “We made it a point that none in our class shall no longer sleep in a glass thatched house”. Lamented one of the farmers, Emily Kadzamira. Indeed that is what these farmers have achieved, all of them in the class have migrated to houses with corrugated iron sheets and cemented floors.
Practicing Climate Smart Agriculture has really changed the lives of Phanga Farmer Field School scholars.