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After a year of comprehensive training with rice farmers in various districts, Farm Business Schools (FBS) operating in Karonga and Nkhatabay districts under the Rice platform of AICC finally graduated 58 farmers who had undergone farm business management training.

In a bid to impart an entrepreneurial mindset among rice farmers in various district that AICC under the rice platform is working on, the institutions introduced Farm Business schools training in farm business management as a way of equipping rice farmers with business skills for their agriculture businesses.

The trainings that are coordinated by AICC rice platform and highly facilitated by Agriculture Extension Development Officers (AEDO's) of various EPA's train farmers of various approaches in farming business starting from pre-season period to season and post season period.

Among many aspects, farmers are trained on how they can plan for their farming business each year, by calculating and planning how much they want to produce, how much it would cost them and their terminal benefit at the end of the season before hand. This highly help farmers to plan on how they can source their inputs as well as evaluate the viability of their farming business. Furthermore, planning also gives farmers an insight on risks associated with businesses hence giving them an opportunity to plan for such circumstance.

On the other hand, another challenge for farmers to run successful business had been on setting their prices, in most cases farmers would just set prices abruptly, however through the Farm business schools farmers have been taught on mechanism of setting out prices depending on the cost they incurred during their productions as other factors.

Furthermore, the trainings also taught farmers on various new technologies that they can employ in order for them to grow their production as well as on skills on marketing access.

Speaking when he was awarding the certificates to Nkhatabay graduations, AICC Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Felix Lombe said the main reason AICC introduced such schools in their programme was to create  business oriented rice farmers in various districts. He said, for long the  country have failed to benefit from their efforts because they lacked business skills in their approach. He however said he was glad that this has greatly changed in the area as many farmers especially those who were under training had started to realize a good fortune out of their farming. Lombe, such results indicate that the training are necessary hence it would propel AICC to support the initiative more.

“I was going around the area before I came to this place and whilst doing that I was shown and told of great success stories coming out of this programme. Some of you have constructed very good houses, some have even bought motor bikes and even your life styles have greatly improved from your business which is a great indication that the trainings are bearing fruits. From the little examples that I have seen am sure, people now have a strong desire to continue using what they have learnt, Am very optimistic that next time that I will come I will see a great change in all of you to the extent that some of you will be buy cars and constructing mansions: said Lombe

Concurring with Lombe’s sentiment Traditional Authority (T/A) Timbiri of the area, said he bears witness of the great change that has happened in his area as well as on his people since the project was introduced.     T/A Timbiri further said the people from his area really cherish the development AICC has brought and requested that it should be up-scaled in order to accommodate more farmers from the area.

The graduation ceremonies that took place in Karonga and Nkhatabay districts saw 27 farmers graduating from Karonga while Nkhatabay graduated 31. Each of the graduated farmers will now be a lead farmer and will have 10 followers farmers assigned to them for mentorship purposes. Meanwhile AICC will be introducing 2 more classes in each district and will see close to 60 farmers participating for a period of close to 49 weeks.


© 2016 Charlie Maere and Dennis Lupenga Designs


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