In Zambia by unm8F6

VIEWS: 17 PAGES: 4

									                                     Waging war on weeds
                                 Mainecy Hampeho - Project supervisor
                                  Silas Banda - Spray Service Provider
                                        Mooba Donald - Farmer
                                         Edwin Saina - Farmer
                                       Ben Munyumbwe - Farmer

Summary
In central Zambia, farmers have been trained to be Spray Service Providers in their
communities. This means they can source the appropriate pest control chemicals at the right
price, and can be hired to spray the crop. This is allowing farmers to cultivate bigger areas,
and is helping aged farmers, who can no longer do hand-weeding, to continue farming.

Suggested introduction
Weeds in fields can have a devastating effect on yields. Many farmers struggle to keep the
weeds down and as a result their crop yields are not as good as they could be. There are
weedkillers - also known as herbicides - which can solve this problem but such products are
often out of reach, particularly to the small scale farmer.

But in central Zambia, the village of Mululika has become a hub of good herbicide use. With
support from Syngenta, village-based agrochemical agents or Spray Service Providers have
been trained. Farmers can use them for advice, or to obtain reasonably-priced
agrochemicals, and can pay them to spray the chemicals in their fields.

Visiting Mulalika, Friday Phiri wanted to hear what farmers think of the service and how it
works. He first spoke to project supervisor Mainecy Hampeho. She is pleased that through
the programme, farmers are no longer spending their money on fake herbicides.

TAPE IN            “Earlier on farmers have been …
TAPE OUT           … I can be a scientist too.”
DURATION           5’11”

Suggested closing announcement
Farmer Ben Munyumbwe, excited at being able to test the difference that using herbicide
can make on his farm.

For further information
Perry Ngoma - perryngoma@live.com
Mainecy Hampeho - hampehoprofit@yahoo.com




January 2011 - Crop protection                     1                               www.agfax.net
 Making the most of this interview…
 Are there any opportunities for farmers to be trained in correct spraying techniques, or to
 start up businesses as spray service providers? In Zambia, this is being done by CropLife,
 in partnership with agro-chemical manufacturers. You could investigate whether there is
 any equivalent programme in your country.




January 2011 - Crop protection                 2                                  www.agfax.net
                                     Waging war on weeds
                                 Mainecy Hampeho - Project supervisor
                                  Silas Banda - Spray Service Provider
                                        Mooba Donald - Farmer
                                         Edwin Saina - Farmer
                                       Ben Munyumbwe - Farmer

Transcript
Hampeho                 Earlier on farmers have been experiencing problems in getting fake
                        products. And what happens if he ends up harvesting nothing at the end
                        of the day? It means the poverty level will increase and the farmer will
                        have no means of helping the family into education and the like. So this
                        project, when it started, we looked at how best these farmers can access
                        genuine inputs, cheaper or they are affordable. The agent is a farmer who
                        is identified in the community, who stays with the farmers, who does the
                        spraying services. They are called Spray Service Providers because they
                        give services to the farmers, without any danger. But usually it’s more on
                        weeds because that is the major problem which farmers face, it’s weed
                        control.

Banda                   (Vernac) My name is Silas Banda. I am a Spray Service Provider. We
                        help farmers by supplying the chemicals. It reduces the need for farmers
                        to pay transport to go to town. You know there are a lot of thieves looking
                        for rural people to steal money from them! We order the chemicals; get
                        them delivered to the village. I am trained to spray in the correct way.
                        Before handling chemicals I put on my personal protective equipment to
                        protect me health-wise. I always check how each chemical works and if
                        the date has expired. When I spray, or if we spray as a team, we always
                        look at the weather. If we spray as a team, then we make sure we are
                        correctly spaced from one another. We provide a good service and the
                        community is benefiting.

Hampeho                 So, we looked at this as the best way of helping farmers, because by so
                        doing, the farmers are always exposed to the genuine product. Not fake
                        products. And what happens when someone accesses genuine products?
                        It means their production will increase and it means also their livelihood
                        will also improve.

Mooba                   (Vernac) My name is Mooba Donald. I have seen so many benefits from
                        herbicides. With hand weeding I may keep the weeds down in part of the
                        field but I cannot keep up with them and then the grass competes with the
                        crop. When you spray herbicides, most of the weeds are controlled before
                        the crop germinates. Then crop growth is more uniform and is ready to
                        harvest at the same time. Yields have been better. Food-wise we have
                        enough to eat now.

Saina                   (Vernac) My name is Edwin Saina. As you can see I am quite aged now.
                        But I got interested in using herbicide. So I used it where I planted 10 kg
                        of seed and compared it with a plot where I used just hand weeding.
                        Compared with hand labour, with herbicide all the weeding was done by
                        spraying in just a few hours. So quick! This convinced me that this is the
                        new and right way. I find it hard to do all the hand weeding. Herbicide




January 2011 - Crop protection                       3                                   www.agfax.net
                        enables an aged person like me to keep farming, to keep producing.
                        Before, I used to produce very little. Now I can produce a surplus for sale.

Hampeho                 It’s a new technology to the small scale farmers, because we know it has
                        been used by the commercial farmers. But it has taken long because
                        these small scale farmers have got an impression of saying that these
                        chemicals destroy the soil. Having the spray service provider, he does the
                        training to the farmer and tells them the benefits, how they can spend
                        their time even doing other programmes instead of continuously weeding.

Munyumbwe               (Vernac) My name is Ben Munyumbwe. I am a farmer and for several
                        reasons I am really interested in starting to use a Spray Service Provider.
                        Myself, I have problems getting all the weeding done by hand. It takes too
                        much time and I never finish it properly. So when I attended the
                        demonstration day at the farm of Silas Banda - the spray operator - and
                        saw his crops and how it was doing, I said let me try herbicides this year.
                        Those who spray with herbicides can cultivate a bigger area. They have
                        enough to consume and some to sell. Their standard of living goes up,
                        and they can afford school fees and they can afford better clothes. I am
                        really looking forward to being able to investigate the difference herbicides
                        can make on my farm. Science should not only stay with the experts. As
                        farmers, when we do trials on our own land, we are able to monitor the
                        difference the new techniques and products can make. I can be a scientist
                        too! End of track.




January 2011 - Crop protection                       4                                   www.agfax.net

								
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