FARMER’S FIELD DAY: A COLLABORATION TO PROVIDE FARMERS WITH KNOWLEDGE & SUPPORT

On the 31st of March 2022, The Future Farm hosted a farmer’s field day in line with its commitment to provide knowledge for sustainable food production and increased individual farm profitability. The event organized by the Future Farm and its partners: Syngenta and SeedCo exposed attendees to modern farming techniques that pave way for the future in agriculture.

The event provided a platform for sharing of knowledge on the benefits farmers reap by implementing good farming practices. It also provided a platform for our partners to showcase their innovations in input, weed and pest management in Maize production.

Syngenta’s focus was on providing farmers with an understanding of the various types of crop care products such as importance of good timing, recommended rates and application techniques. SeedCo’s representatives reiterated the importance of planting certified seeds, achieving optimum plant population and fertilizer application for increased productivity while AGCO demonstrated the benefits of mechanization based on its Massey Ferguson product offering to farmers in attendance. Together the three partners covered various aspects of production that together enables production and food security.

Farmers were keen to understand various aspects of production including determining plant populations, obtaining certified seeds, nutrient and fertilizer management as well as pest management.

Plant populations

Demonstrations on plant population studies provided an understanding of optimum plant population for maize and associated yield benefits. It also highlighted ways through which wastage of financial resources can be reduced such as seed cost resulting from high plant population and inefficient land use when farmers opt for low plant population.

Certified seeds and Fertilizer use

Attendees got a chance to understand efficient use of fertilizers and associated increase in yield potential resulting from good fertilizer programs. SeedCo representatives explained the importance of investing in certified hybrid seeds, their genetic make-up and the yield potential benefits that it offers.

Pest management

Pest management including weed management was also a topic of interest for many and the representatives from Syngenta ensured attendees understood various technologies in managing weeds and pests such as the fall army worm to ensure increased productivity.

As Namakau Manzi, a field scientist at Syngenta reiterates,

“Herbicides prevent or eliminate weeds from competing with crops for nutrients, sunlight and water. They either replace or reduce manual or mechanical weed removal thus reducing the cost of production. Herbicides also reduces cultivation, which can help prevent soil erosion and water loss.

LUMAX, a herbicide from Syngenta is a pre and early post-selective herbicide that gives residual control of up to 10 weeks ensuring that weed competition during Maize production is reduced.”

Best Agronomy practices

AGCO through the Martin Richenhagen Future farm focused on demonstrated training by sharing with farmers’ holistic best farming practices. Demonstrations ranged from tillage practices, correct spacing by use of a planter, timely application of chemical product by use of knapsack and boom sprayers. These demonstrations are major components of the Agronomy short course offered both online and face to face by the Future Farm. These Agronomy modules focus on practices and are applicable to all farmers regardless of equipment type.

Attendees gathered key lessons from the highlighted benefits of implementing best farm practices including timely field operations and efficient resource allocation.

Christabel, a team leader at the Zambia Cooperative Federation (ZCF) – Lusaka province says, “The farmer’s field day provided me with great exposure and knowledge. The knowledge I have gained will be beneficial to farmers who belong to the cooperative with whom I will share what I have learnt. In addition to the training, the future farm facilities including the conferencing centre and accommodation are well suited for planning meetings. The serene location is also a major boost. “

Chileshe, an emergent farmer from Lusaka shares her experience and says, “The future farm is a knowledge hub of farming. I did not know such a place exists which offers customized farmer trainings needed to improve productivity. I am so thrilled by some highlights of best farming practice which improves farmer productivity and I am keen to implement some changes in my farm in the next coming season

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