Human Ecology Department: Promoting crop diversity
As an extension of the conference, participants went on a field trip to visit farmers implementing conservation agriculture principles. They also visited demonstration areas for the improving of food security of small scale farmers.
Drawn from several countries on the continent, participants included academics, field workers, and representatives of founding corporations.
At the conference, Dr. Katundu made a presentation on the Malawi Farmer to Farmer Agroecology Project (MAFFA). The project, which is being carried out in Mzimba and Dedza districts, engages local farmers on the promotion of crop diversity for improved soil and nutrition.
Under the MAFFA project, farmers are encouraged to grow crops such as orange maize (nthikinya), soya beans, pigeon peas, cassava, and sweet potatoes. Farmers are also trained in the production of manure, which has reduced the need for chemical fertilizers, while maintaining good yields to meet their food needs.
Among other results, the project has helped farmers to improve the fertility of their fields.