Avoiding pests and disease using natural crop protection

I want to start training farmers on best practices of crop protection especially on pest prevention and controlling measures using natural ways without chemicals. To achieve this I have started training farmers with a making manure using local available resources so that we first make our soil healthy. Many crop diseases or deficiencies come from the soil and its very difficult to protect the crops or for the crops if the soil is not healthy. So I will first engage some practices to achieve crop protection. These manure will be applied in their fields before the plant their crops and no chemicals will be applied. I will train them sustainable ways of cultivation and natural way of farming to protect the crops.

If farmers/ people in my community know the timing of planting and harvesting I believe they can take care of their crops. That is why forecasting will help them to know what to plant in which season. I will recommend a crop rotation so that the same crops are not planted on the same land to avoid pests and diseases.

Another element of the training is on three dimension farming. That is growing staple foods, vegetables, and other side products like, timber or fruit trees and keeping livestock. This inter-cropping will help shield from diseases and from direct sunlight. For the cultivation of other crops like tomatoes and other vegetables, I will teach farmers how to make a green house using local resources so that their crops can be shielded from heavy rains and scorching sun.

Healthy corn fields in the uplands

I also want to train farmers how to prevent pests and diseases in a natural way, so that they have healthy crops. They will be trained to take care of the living things in their soil and fields, which fight disease or insects that eat our crops (such as frogs). I will train them how to use natural, organic pest control that are made using the local available resources and without chemicals. I will train farmers in person and using radio programs because our country relies on radio for information.

The key stakeholders will be the agriculture department, non government organisations and the beneficiaries will be farmers and students. The outcome will be more healthy crops that will in turn enhance competition in marketing. Other outcomes to be expected would be well structured and rich soils, afforestation; plant protection and improved water levels (due to tree planting). The communities will have enough food to eat and surplus to sell and this will improve the economic status of the community and the country at large.

I am motivated because I have a passion for the people and farmers in my community because they contribute to the agriculture sector in the country. They are hard working and I want to see them progress and learning new ideas. This will help the community to work together and sell their commodities at a regulated price and reduce the power of the black market.

Venitta Kaduya Mkaka, Malawi