Farmer Field Schools (FFS’s) are having a positive impact in controlling the further spread of the Fall armyworm, an invasive pest that causes huge losses to staple cereals especially maize.
The outbreak of the Fall Armyworm was first reported in Blantyre and Machinga Agriculture Development Divisions (ADDs) in 2016 before spreading to Kasungu, Mzuzu and Karonga ADDs.
Land Resources Conservation Officer in Zomba Cleopas Lameck told YFM that through the field schools, farmers are now using home-made initiatives to control the Fall armyworm such as using soil, pepper and fish soup.
Lameck said that through the initiatives, crop production has so far increased.
He disclosed during the graduation of 440 farmers from field schools in Chingale and Masaula Extension Planning Area in Zomba.
Lameck said that through the field schools farmers learn the best agriculture practices and validate information that is provided through research.
“We articulate farmer’s demands through problem analysis and after analyzing their problems we discuss and find solutions. It’s like they are learning by doing it,” he added.
The Farmer Field School initiative is being implemented by the government in conjunction with Shire River Basin Management Program and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
Since 2016 over 700 farmers have graduated from the field schools in Chingale and Masaula EPA’s in Zomba which is under Machinga ADD.