Mphatso Nkhoma – Nyasa Times
No room to dose any longer, government has assured Malawians that it is doing everything possible to ensure that no Malawian dies due to hunger in the 2016/2017 agricultural production year, as Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, George Chaponda said 1,290,000 metric tonnes is needed to avert worsening the hunger situation in the country.
Speaking in Parliament when he presented a ministerial statement on the Current Food situation in the county, Chaponda told the House that government has put in place immediate, medium and short measures to ensure that Malawians have sufficient food to eat due to the hunger that is expected to affect over eight million Malawians.
According to Chaponda the measures which he calls “Rescue Plans” are inline with the
agriculture sector investment policy framework, the Agriculture Sector Wide
Approach (ASWAp), and the Irrigation Master Plan and Investment Framework.
These investment frameworks seek to realize the sector’s targets as espoused in the Malawi Growth and Development.
Chaponda said according to the Second Round Agricultural Production Estimates Survey (APES) released his ministry in March the country’s main staple food, maize has registered a reduction of 12.4 percent as compared to the 2014/15 final round estimate.
He said maize production declined from 2,776,277 metric tons in 2014/2015 to about 2,431,313 metric tons in 2015/16.
According to the Minister in two years, the country has registered a cumulative 42 per cent of maize production decline.
Apart from maize production decrease , Chaponda said the country has also registered decrease in rice (21.6 percent), cassava (0.1 percent), sorghum (27.1 percent) and millet (40.9 percent) with production of sweet potatoes and potatoes increasing by 3.2 and 0.1 percent, respectively.
“Mr. Speaker Sir, the short term measures are; immediate in nature, covering the 2015/16 fiscal year and part of the 2016/17 financial year; while the medium term measures, on the other hand, cover the year 2016/17 through to about 2 to 3 fiscal years. The long term measures will be implemented in 5 years and beyond.
” Some of the measures government will focus mostly on irrigation measures to utilize both existing and new irrigation schemes under the management of both smallholder and commercial farmers for maize production, Local maize procurement, maize importation, distribution and installation of the already-available motorized pumps to increase the area under irrigarion,” Chaponda said.
In his opening State-of- the-Nation Address of the 2016 to 2017 Budget meeting of Parliament in Lilongwe Friday, President Peter Mutharika said government has invited interested private sector investors to undertake commercial irrigation farming in the country in order to address the food shortage in the 2016 to 2017.
Mutharika added that government has provided ADMARC with financial resources to procure maize soon to ensure that markets are fully stocked with maize.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :