As the campaign against smoking continues to gain momentum, tobacco growing countries are busy trying to find alternative ways of earning forex. Malawi’s economy is heavily dependent on agriculture and tobacco is the main forex earner. Tobacco markets are a very important asset despite being in the midst of the anti-smoking campaign, it is very important for the country to explore the potentials of other crops that could take over from tobacco. Tea, coffee, cotton, legumes and rice are amongst the possible crops in Malawi who could play a bigger role in exports. Investing more into those crops, especially rice could bring Malawi to its deserved position on the world map in agricultural production.
Malawi has 600 000 hectares of potential land for planting rice and yet only 30 000 hectares are being utilised. Malawi has the capacity to supply rice to the whole of Southern Africa, but it is not able to meet demands due to underproduction. Subsistence farmers can also grow rice in the upland areas. Little or no effort is being put into this type of farming. Most likely farmers are not confident to do it because there aren’t any demonstrations on upland rice production; the knowledge is missing. Therefore this growing season, Kusamala has committed part of its staple field to demonstrating upland rice production.
Our rice is grown under principles of organic agriculture with regards to health, ecology, fairness and care. Due to our farming methods the rice demonstration plots look impressive and promising. In regards to health, the rice demonstration plot has been established in a way that it sustains and maintains the health of the plants, animals, soil, humans and eventually the planet. Our rice has been grown without the use of synthetic fertilizer. Kusamala has also endeavoured to ensure that the demonstration plot is based on living ecological systems and cycles. The multiple benefits that we anticipate from such a system cannot be over-emphasised.