PlantVillage Empowers Lead Farmers in Malawi with Digital Tools for Enhanced Agriculture

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PlantVillage has successfully conducted a series of capacity-building trainings in Malawi under the MaDiPHS project, which has empowered lead farmers in the districts of Thyolo, Lilongwe, and Dedza. These lead farmers play a crucial role as role models, testing new technologies, providing training to other farmers, and sharing valuable knowledge and skills within their communities.



During the training sessions, PlantVillage provided lead farmers with smartphones that came pre-installed with the PlantVillage Nuru Application. This advanced tool allows them to diagnose crop diseases directly on their own farms and those of their peers, even without an internet connection. Additionally, lead farmers can access weather information, seek expert advice, and receive prompt feedback from a team of agricultural specialists.


PlantVillage Empowers Lead Farmers in Malawi with Digital Tools for Enhanced Agriculture


The training sessions were facilitated by the PlantVillage dream team officers, who guided farmers on effectively using the application, conducting surveys, and utilizing feedback to optimize their farming practices and increase profitability. 


Speaking during one of the training sessions, Kevin Nyongesa, PlantVillage Malawi Lead, highlighted the transformative potential of Digital Agriculture. "PlantVillage aims to empower farmers to achieve high yields despite the challenges posed by climate change. The PlantVillage app enhances farmers' ability to respond to weather conditions by providing accurate and timely weather forecasts, disease diagnosis, and predictions," he said.


Rabecca Zakeyo,  PlantVillage Research Extension officer, added, "Farmers will readily embrace the PlantVillage Nuru App as a digital platform as it enables them to receive real-time feedback and make informed decisions regarding their own farms and those of their peers."



The training sessions also involved the participation of the Agriculture Extension Development Coordinator (AEDC) and Agriculture Extension Development Officers (AEDOs) from the 10 Extension Planning Areas (EPAs) where PlantVillage operates in Malawi.


"We share the common goal of serving farmers. By empowering and collaborating with lead farmers, we can effectively transfer agricultural technologies to other farmers," stated Mr. Emmanuel Agabu, AEDC from Mitundu EPA, Lilongwe.


He also emphasized the importance of collaboration between the PlantVillage dream team officers and government extension officers to support farmers through the lead farmers' approach.



Eluby Chidenga Square, a lead farmer from Dedza, Mtakataka EPA, expressed her gratitude during one of the sessions, "I am thrilled to receive a smartphone from PlantVillage. I will make the most of this opportunity. With the guidance of our extension officers, I am confident in effectively using the PlantVillage app on my farm and sharing it with my fellow farmers."


PlantVillage has distributed 53 smartphones to 53 lead farmers in Malawi, empowering them to utilize the capabilities of the PlantVillage application for improved farming practices and knowledge sharing among other farmers. This initiative represents a significant step towards sustainable and technology-driven agriculture in the region.








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