PSTAD innovative platforms for technology adoption enhance harmony of stakeholders in Malawi
For many years low adoption of technologies has been attributed to poor research-extension linkages and inadequate platforms where stakeholders can share innovations. Thanks to the Promotion of Science and Technology for Agricultural Development in Africa (PSTAD) for coming to Malawi.
PSTAD is the regional project being implemented in 34 African countries including Malawi. The project is funded by the African Development Bank (AfDB) and Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) in collaboration with the sub-regional organizations such as the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) and Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources (FANR).
In Malawi, the project is being implemented in Chinguluwe Extension Planning Area (EPA) in Salima, Mpenu EPA in Lilongwe, Ndolera EPA in Dowa and Phalula EPA in Balaka District. Ndolera and Phalula EPAs are benefiting this season (2011/12).
The project is promoting two crops namely red sorghum (Chinguluwe and Phalula EPAs) and open pollinated variety of maize (Mpenu and Ndolera EPAs).
The overall purpose is to contribute towards achieving food security and poverty alleviation in Africa. Its objective is to build African agricultural research knowledge management capacity and Support the dissemination and adoption of new agricultural technologies.
According to the Director of Agricultural Extension Services Mrs. Stella Kamkwamba the project is helping a lot in increasing technology adoption among the farmers in the implementing EPAs.
“Although the project started late in 2011/2012 agricultural season, the project has been able to implement its planned activities successfully. Apart from implementing its activities well, the project has also brought together different stakeholders in sorghum and maize value chains in what is known as innovative platform for technology adoption (IPTA),” said the Director.
Through these platforms, stakeholders working in the impact sites are empowered to learn from each other, advise each other, and create buffer zones so that technologies that are being implemented in the project areas are replicated outside the project areas.
Apart from sharing experiences, stakeholders learn from each other’s best practices and discuss how they can contribute to the success of the two commodities. The emphasis is how stakeholders in the value chain of the specific commodity can work together to make every stage of value chain in a commodity successful.
PSTAD is also promoting sharing of information among stakeholders through a website www.erails.net. Through this website, institutions can create their accounts and be uploading agricultural related information, link or can just access information from other countries globally.
Recently, in November, 2012 stakeholders involved in Chinguluwe and Mpenu IPTAs were trained on how to create an account and upload agricultural related information, link or accessing agricultural information from other countries globally.
Ifidon Ohiomoba is PSTAD Project Manager and last year in May, 2012 he visited some of the PSTAD sites to appreciate the implementation progress. “Although Malawi has started implementing the project late, the progress so far indicates the potential of doing well,” said the Project Manager.
PSTAD Project Manager with farmers and staff during the supervisory field visit in Salima (Malawi)
PSTAD started in 2008 in other countries but Malawi started benefiting from it in 2011. The projected is ending in December this year.
A journalist in Malawi
Malawi is one of the African countries implementing the regional project called Promotion of Science and Technology for Agricultural Development in Africa (PSTAD). This project is funded by the African Development Bank (AfDB) and implemented by 34 countries in Africa, under the
coordination of the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), in collaboration with the sub-regional organizations (SARECA, CORAF/WECARD and SADC/FANR). In Malawi, the project is being implemented in Chinguluwe Extension Planning Area in Salima and Mpenu Extension Planning Area in Lilongwe Districts respectively. Its overall purpose is to contribute towards achieving food security and poverty alleviation in Africa. Its objective is to build African agricultural research knowledge management capacity and Support the dissemination and adoption of new and proven agricultural technologies.
Started in 2011/2012 agricultural season, the project has managed to implement its planned activities successfully. It has also brought together different stakeholders in sorghum and maize value chains in what is known as innovative platform for technology adoption (IPTA). Through these platforms, stakeholders share experiences, learn from each other’s best practices and discuss how they can contribute to the success of the two commodities.
For documentation and dissemination of stories of impacts of knowledge management and technology adoption within the framework of the PSTAD (RAILS & DONATA) project. Forum for
Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) engaged the services of Mr. Busani Bafana to Malawi to assist. Mr. Bafana is an award winning Journalist with vast experience in development work. He was also involved in the documentation of the first series of Making things Happen.
The journalist visited a number of institutions and places such as World Vision International, Chibuku Brewery Company, Research, Lilongwe and Salima district Innovative Platform for Technology adoptions (IPTAs), including our beautiful Lake Malawi.
The outcome of his assignment will be featured in the second series of “Making Things Happen” and this series is proposed to feature activities in another set of eight countries including Malawi. These are countries that participate in the Dissemination of New Agricultural Technologies in Africa (DONATA) and Regional Agricultural Information and Learning System (RAILS) activities.
In all places Mr. Bafana visited, partners and participants of Promotion of Science and Technology for Agricultural Development in Africa (PSTAD) project smiled, while farmers sung traditional songs, danced and hugged each other to express their heartfelt happiness as they were welcoming him.
Busani Bafana comes from Bulawayo in Zimbabwe. Whilst in Malawi he had an audience with several stakeholders, including farmers from both project areas who welcomed him with warm smiles, ululations, traditional dances, and hugs to express their heartfelt gratitude and happiness knowing that their achievement will be shared at international platform by this reknown Journalist
In his words after winding up his 5 days of tour Mr Bafana confidently said, “Basing on what I have seen in the countries toured, Africa has a lot of good agricultural stories which journalists can write. These stories can contribute significantly to increased agricultural productivity and production in Africa”