farmers from Traditional Authority Chapananga in Chikwawa have commended the participatory Integrated Climate Services for Agriculture (PICSA) approach, saying it has enhanced food security in the area.
This was revealed during a field visit by government officials and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) to appreciate the project’s progress, which is funded by the Green Climate Fund (GCF) through UNDP.
One of the beneficiaries, 71-year-old Atanazio Chasukwa, said the approach has saved the area from severe food shortage they have been experiencing in the past.
“We used to farm without following proper methods due to lack of information. I started farming in 1958, but I never realised high yields due to poor farming methods.
“I started yielding bumper harvests in 2018 after PICSA was introduced to us. The approach has taught us to plant hybrid seeds that withstand climate change effects,”said Chasukwa.
Margaret Andiseni, who is also a beneficiary, said PICSA has enlightened them on which crops to cultivate with regards to the early weather warnings it provides.
“The PICSA platform informs us of the upcoming weather conditions, enabling us to make proper decisions and cultivate crops which do well in accordance to the forecasted weather.
“We now cultivate drought-tolerant crops if dry spells are anticipated and yield bumper harvests at the end of the season,” she said.
According to DAES Deputy Director, Anderson Chikomola, government decided to implement PICSA to facilitate the making of informed decisions among smallholder farmers about farming.
Through the same method, lead farmers receive messages advising them on which local crop or livestock to opt for with regards to the early weather warnings.