An Indian joint initiative to help Malawi in farming

17-March, Hyderabad

In faraway Malawi, Africa, Indian agriculture expertise is slowly growing its presence and reaching out to help local farm communities.

India, a major importer of lentils from East Africa is also reaping benefits. A limited quantity of lentils is being imported currently from Malawi.

Back home in Dharwad region of Karnataka, efforts are on to grow lentils since similar agro-climatic conditions exist. University of Agricultural Sciences, Dharwad, is a lead player in the efforts. India is hugely deficient in pulses production and people in proteins.

Catalysing the expanding engagement between the two nations is a collaborative tri-partite effort between Sathguru Management Consultants, Hyderabad; Cornell University, US, and the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources, in Bunda the capital of Malawi, with funding from USAID.

The trio are working to bring together innovation and agriculture technology to reach resource-less farmers.

The focus areas of the AIP- Malawi activity launched in April 2014 is to improve seed science and technology curriculum; introducing e-learning tools, creating a seed processing facility and supporting seed entrepreneurs and the seed enterprise development.

The University recently imported a seed processing unit from Fowler Westrup, Bengaluru, to give a push to the industry. Corn and bean are the staple in Malawi and the country is rich in germplasm. Indian seed companies have a tremendous scope to contribute, says K Vijayaraghavan, Founder Director of Sathguru Management.

In addition to supporting the University in accelerating their breeding programmes in collaboration with Cornell, Sathguru is encouraging small enterprises to come up along the value chain in agriculture.

The presence of Mahindra Farm implements and Mahyco seed is already helping. Cotton is emerging as a big interest in entire Africa as well as Malawi, says Vijayaraghavan.

The Agriculture Improvement Project under the “Feed the Future” initiative, endeavours to increase food security and improve the quality of life of Malawi farmers.

The Lilongwe University is the only agricultural institution in Malawi with most other organisation involved in agriculture sector there.

Source:The Hindu Businessline