Our Farm Services Unit offers farmers, both large and small, technical and practical advice in order to get the most out of their crop. We offer a full soil science service to commercial farmers, allowing for zone specific fertilization. We have also pioneered the largest soil testing project of it’s kind for small-scale farmers, leading to the launch of a series of specialised blends aiming at a production increase of 20%.
The Malawi Small-Scale Project
In 2015, Meridian along with the Africa Agriculture Fund (AAF) and the Technical Assistance Facility (TAF) launched a pilot project in Malawi with the objective of creating tailored agronomy products and packages for smallholder farmers. Larger commercial farming enterprises have long had the benefit of being able to create prescription fertilizers for their crops through soil sampling. Our goal with this project was to provide the same benefit to smaller farmers.
Today, Meridian’s Farm Services Unit (FSU) is pioneering a model of integrating traditional extension services into a commercial business unit without compromising value. Our network of FSU extension officers or ‘agronauts’ harness the latest in science and technology to help farmers make better, data-driven agronomic decisions.
In Malawi, FSU is comprised of 60 extension officers operating from 60 Farmers World & Agora retail outlets in the Central and Southern Regions. By providing agronomic advice to farmers and creating & testing customized fertilizer blends, FSU aims to create more productive and profitable farmers.
The six core functions of an agronaut include:
- Farmer group training
- Farm clinic sessions
- Soil testing
- Data collection
- Demonstration plots & field days
- In-shop advice
FSU is transforming the lives of Malawian small-scale farmers through the provision of knowledge, agricultural inputs, technology and support.