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Tips for farmers during the farming season

Company: Good Nature Agro

Interviewee: Joseph Phiri- Lead Field Supervisor 

Good Nature Agro is one of the companies supported by the European Union’s (EU) ENTERPRISE Zambia Challenge Fund project.  Good Nature Agro focuses on producing legumes (soybeans, groundnuts beans and cowpeas), including high quality seed, for local and export markets.

Good Nature Agro conducts trainings for smallholders through its team of Field Supervisors who train the Private Extension Agents (PEAs). Each PEA then work with around 40 smallholders to disseminate knowledge on how to be a successful farmer.

Currently approximately 4,000 smallholder households have benefited from these trainings which include financial literacy, gender training, agronomy and good farming practices.

Joseph Phiri, Good Nature Agro’s Lead Field Supervisor explains that the Field Supervisors are responsible for offering advice to the farmers.

“We recommend farmers to use certified seed registered under the Seed Control and Certification Institute (SCCI) as well as use a good seed variety. These include drought tolerant early maturing groundnut varieties such as Lupande or Wamusanga and the Kafue soybean variety which has similar traits good potential yield.”

The Lead Field Supervisor further advised farmers to avoid mixing the seed varieties in their fields because Good Nature Agro only wants high quality single variety seed.

“We advise farmers to practice conservation agriculture which includes early land preparation beginning in August by ripping and ridging in the field, using the correct fertiliser application during planting and growth stages. This ensures they will harvest as much seed as they can. If they thresh the seed and store it properly to avoid the rain from damaging the quality of the grain, they can maximise their profits”, he added.

Joseph Phiri explained that the extension team are on the ground to help the farmers apply the information learnt from the training to their fields.

One of Joseph’s team, the Private Extension Agents, Mrs Hildah Njhovu of Mwelwa Village has been working with Good Nature Agro for three years and successfully harvesting groundnuts and soybeans.

With an assured market for her produce, Hildah Nhjovu has been able to sell all the groundnuts and soybeans she wants to. The resulting profits have enabled her to build a better house for her family and send her children to school.

She described trainings received from GNA on the importance of crop rotation and financial literacy in a household as beneficial.

Joseph Phiri is always happy to see the smallholder farmers build better houses, have the money to invest in their children’s education and afford a balanced diet in the household. “These are great achievements which we are very proud of”, he concluded.