Syngenta brought plant potential to life at the National Field Day in Chongwe.

National Field Day - Farmers being addressed in field

Farmers from all walks of life who attended the second edition of Syngenta field day at Syngenta farm in Chongwe district were stunned with the high technology in seed and crop protection solutions that the company is providing.

A highly successful farmer’s field day under the theme “Promoting technologies to improve productivity in a challenging environment” was held in Chongwe on 28th March 2019.

The field day was part of other efforts of reaching out to the farmers and other stakeholders in the agricultural value chain as well as showcasing Syngenta’s high-quality seed varieties and crop protection solutions.

Over 1500 farmers attended the event which was graced by Syngenta Africa Middle East Head – Jerome Barbaron and the Director of Seed Control and Certification Institute Mable Matandiko Simwanza who was the guest of honor on behalf of the Minister of Agriculture.

Mr. Barbaron reaffirmed the commitment of Syngenta to work closely with both government and local communities in seed production as well as crop protection products, research technologies that can withstand the concern of climate change, and the relationship of crop production to the environment and ecosystems.

“The purpose of our company is “Bringing plant potential to life”.  Our passion is for Agriculture and for growers. There is nothing that matters more to us than farmer satisfaction”, he said.

In Zambia, over 70 percent of the population depends on agriculture and the majorities are smallholder farmers. However, these farmers face challenges which include timely access to quality farming inputs, modern training on matters related to crop production and farming management.

It is for this reason that Syngenta has intervened to try and address some of the challenges that farmers are facing by carrying out activities such as a national field day.

Mr. Barbaron passionately told farmers that the company is determined to work with them to scale up their agricultural productivity and improve both their income and food security.

In the ministerial speech read by Mable Matandiko Simwanza, the Director Seed Control Certification Institute, on behalf of the Ministry of agriculture, she applauded Syngenta for promoting new innovations and improved technologies whose research findings are in line with government agricultural policies of increasing production and productivity.

She expressed gratitude to Syngenta for its investment in agriculture/research, seed breeding, and seed processing as well as providing crop protection solution in light of challenges such as climate change, low yields, diseases, pests, and drought.

She acknowledged the importance of agricultural research and field days as their primary aims are to enhance knowledge of farmers in crop production

“Conducting and supporting field days like is this one is one way in which our farmers can learn new and improved farming methods which are prerequisite to increase productivity”, she said

The guest of honor reiterated that the Ministry has put measures in place of promoting public-private partnership in order to achieve food and nutrition security at both national and household levels.

She added that the government working with Syngenta and other private sectors will continue to support farmers with farming inputs through the Farmer Input Supply Programme” (FISP).

"I wish to commend Syngenta management for organizing this wonderful field day, and farmers for coming in numbers, and we will surely benefit from new improved farming methods that have been disseminated today”, she said.

The Acting Chongwe District Commissioner Laura Gondwe, who was also in attendance, observed that Chongwe district has experienced a prolonged dry spell of rain which has an adverse effect on crop production.    

“I pay gratitude to Syngenta for displaying various demo fields with diverse crops for contrast and comparison because it is in line with the Seventh (7th) National development plan”, she said. She encouraged farmers to continue engaging themselves in agriculture activities despite climate challenges and pests since the sector contributes to the national economic development and job creation.

She noted that Syngenta has agricultural technologies and knowledge which targets to benefit small scale holders to improve crop production who mostly depend on rainwater for their agriculture activities. Therefore, there is a need for other cooperating partners to invest in the irrigation to scale down the high demand of water for consumption and irrigation.

“However, I am grateful that we have partners such as Syngenta who are closely working with us in various activities in the district to alleviate poverty which is in our midst”, she said.

Speaking earlier at the field day, Syngenta Country Head Mr. Tibor Czigany pointed out that Syngenta offers to the farmers the whole technology of growing good crops and crop protection solutions such as insecticides, herbicides, and fungicides as well as seed care handling after harvesting.

"The company is dedicated to agriculture and it is doing everything possible to transfer the knowledge to the farmers in order to enhance their farming business. As you have seen the level of farming from the demo plots shows that Syngenta has the knowledge of growing a good crop and we are ready to transfer the knowledge to the farmers”, he said.

Syngenta demo sites were used to demonstrate the effect of different crop protection solution on maize, soybeans, sunflower and vegetables.  

The field day also provided a forum where farmers could engage policymakers and agricultural experts on the challenges facing them in crop production.

Senior Chieftainess Nkomesha Mukamambo II gave a vote of thanks to mark the end of Syngenta national field day 2019 with words of encouragement to Syngenta management for organizing such an event in her chiefdom.

“I want to extend a hand of friendship to Syngenta for being a business model to many companies in our chiefdom. I encourage you to continue with the same spirit of innovation because this is what this chiefdom is yearning for and we shall give you the necessary support”, she said   

Her Royal Highness was impressed with the level of technology exhibited in the demo plots and advised farmers to implement the knowledge gained.

She acknowledged the Fortenza Duo technology was a key highlight which is helping to effectively fight fall army worm that has ravaged the farmers’ crop fields. 

The Senior Chieftainess Nkomesha also appealed to the private sector to emulate Syngenta to invest in activities that promote human and socio-economic development in her chiefdom such as dam contraction.

During the field day, farmers were also provided with newly developed extension materials to guide them on the best agronomic practices for maize production and also help them in the nutrient deficiencies.

The displayed crop products range were maize, soybean, vegetables, sunflower and crop protection solutions are Lumax, Denim Fit, Ampligo, Amistar Top and Actellic Gold.   

In 2013, Syngenta a multinational company operating in over 98 countries worldwide, bought MRI Seed business and invested heavily in both seed and crop protection products in Zambia.