During the field visit to Mzimba district in the north of Malawi, on 19 February 2020, organized by the Soils Food and Healthy Communities (SFHC), the NIBIO team had the opportunity to see the various farmer-led demonstration trials. Some of these included baby trials (n =12 plots) and mother trails (n = 16 plots) and interact with the lead farmers.

The field trials visited were maize and sorghum/finger millets row intercropped with legumes such as Pigeon peas, Bambara nuts or Groundnuts. The demonstration trials were well maintained and used for dissemination to other farmers through Farmer to Famer Extension  and farmer field days.

An expansion of Sorghum-groundnuts intercropped field by Ms Getrude Sibanda in Mateyo Singini villa

The NIBIO team visited 12 baby trials implemented by farmers: Mr. Allan Mithi and Regina Changaya from Reuben Mithi village and Ms. Getrude Sibanda from Mateyo Singini village in Mzimba district.

“Thanks to InnovAfrica, this is the first time we are planting finger millet intercropped with legumes and in raised ridges. We used to broadcast the finger millet and grow as a sole crop that rendered very low yield. Farmers are now visiting my fields. “ Farmer
Mr. Allan Mithi and Regina Changaya show the Finger millet intercropped with Bambara nuts in Reuben Mithi village

The maize variety MH43A hybrid was planted on 9 December 2019 on raised ridges and/or with conservation agriculture (i.e. minimum tillage with mulching). One week after planting, 2 bags of fermented Bokashi manure were applied per plot in every trial. Three weeks after planting, 3 grams of urea were top-dressed per plant station of maize and sorghum.

Farmers’ constraintsMeasures taken
More labor for weeding in intercropped plotsMobilizing family labor
Shortage of mulching materialsCollecting grasses from nearby bushes
I am very happy I took up the interventions by InnovAfrica project on maize and finger millets row-intercropping with legumes. I see the benefits in good plant growth which are more biomass and improved soil fertility.” Farmer
Ms. Getrude Sibanda shows the vigorous growth of sorghum-pigeon pea intercropped field