The Malawi Government attaches great importance to the development of agriculture. The Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security conducts agricultural research, through its Department of Agricultural Research Services (DARS) which started way back in 1938. Thereafter, it was established as a technical department under Ministry of Agriculture in 1975. DARS has been generating agricultural technologies to address the challenges that hinder progress in agricultural productivity, food and income security. DARS is the driving force in the development and dissemination of agricultural technologies in Malawi.
- Breeding for high yield and adaptability for all major crops.
- Development of improved area-specific agronomic recommendations.
- Development of alternative soil fertility management technologies.
- Evaluation of small-scale farm mechanization and labor-saving technologies
- Identification of small-scale agro-processing and value-addition technologies.
- Development of irrigation and water management technologies for small-scale irrigation farmers
- Research into integrated pest and disease management
- Evaluating alternative feeds and management systems for livestock production.
- Development technologies for storage pest management.
The Department of Agricultural research Services is a technical department is responsible for conducting agricultural research and provision of regulatory and specialized services on all crops and livestock, with the exception of tobacco, tea and sugar cane. In addition, DARS disseminates its technologies in collaboration with extension service providers and other stakeholders through various channels to ensure adoption and utilization among farmers. DARS operates a network of sixteen service centres that are strategically located in all agro-ecological zones of Malawi. These service centres cover a total land area of 2,731 ha. The agricultural research centers are categorized into three groups as follows:
- Technology Development Division;
- Technology Management Division;
- Management information Division;
- Administration and Support Services Division
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