Chaponda outlines measures to offset food shortages in Malawi

Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development Dr. George Chaponda has announced that government has initiated short, medium and long term measures to reverse the loaming food security crisis in the country.

Chaponda: Drastic measures

Chaponda: Drastic measures

Chaponda told journalists in Lilongwe on Friday that measures are  being taken to offset the current food gap and to avoid the recurrence of similar crises in the future.

This comes as Malawi is currently facing a significant drop of crop production attributed mainly to weather induced factors like late commencement of planting rains, prolonged dry spells and hot weather not suitable for crop production.

Production of maize, the country’s staple food has registered a decline from 2, 776, 277 metric tons in 2014/2015 to about 2, 431, 313 metric tons in 2015/2016 growing season representing a 12.4 percent decline.

In its short term measures adopted; government intends to make sure that over extra 1.65 million metric tones of white maize is made available in the country.

“The short term measures are immediate in nature that will commence in the 2015/2016 fiscal year through to 2016/2017 financial year. They mostly focus on irrigation to utilize both existing and new irrigation schemes under the management of both smallholder and commercial farmers for maize production,” said Chaponda.

Chaponda explained that this will be achieved by engaging commercial and other emerging farmers to utilize their irrigation facilities or use the ones belonging to smallholder farmers that could result in the realization of about 25, 000 metric tons of maize on 4,500 hectares of land to approximately cost K6.8 billion.

Also, by initiating campaigns for stallholder farmers to seriously engage in conventional irrigation farming on an area of about 35, 000 hectares to supplement the current rain fed crop which could result in the production of around 140, 000 metric tons which is meant to be for smallholder farmers own consumption.

He added that government also intends to distribute and install motorized pumps to increase the area under irrigation by 210 hectares to produce around 840 metric tons at an expected cost of K700 million.

According to the minister, plans are in play to import about 1 million metric tones of white maize from African regions and overseas of which part of it will be used for humanitarian relief purposes.

He said government will procure maize through the Agricultural Development Marketing Corporation (Admarc) and the National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA) both locally and to as far as Mexico and Ukraine.

“On this measure, the ministry has recommended to government to provide adequate financial resources to enable Admarc and NFRA commence maize purchases earlier than they normally do.

In fact, Admarc has already started buying the grain from our smallholder farmer. The plan is to stock Admarc and NFRA with about 250, 000 metric tons each.

In its medium term plans spanning 2016 to 2020, at a cost of MK11.4 billion, government intends to procure, distribute and install 27 solar pumps across the country where high potential ground water of yields between 5 to 15 liters exists. All in all, an area of 27 hectares of land is being targeted and 1, 350 farming families are expected to benefit.

According to Chaponda, Malawi only irrigates a quarter of potential irrigable land of 408, 000 hectares due to factors related to capital cost investment. Out of this background, he said his ministry is engaging relevant institutions such as the Treasury to come up with an innovative financing mechanism to support irrigation investment in the country.

“It is my conviction that if we developed 75 percent of this irrigable land and deployed it to food production, growing twice a year, we should be able to reverse the situation and come back to our self-food sufficiency status,” said he.

However, “ Going forward with our long term plans, the ministry will be guided by the National Agricultural Policy (NAP) whose main focus is to sustainably transform the sector with a view to attain significant growth and expand incomes of the farming communities and at the same time improve food and nutrition security for our communities.

“The ministry is also reviewing its investment framework/plan known as the Agriculture Sector Wide Approach (ASWAp) to reflect the aspiration of the NAP so that all investments in the sector are properly guided and eventually break the cycle of food and income insecurity at both household and national levels,” said Chaponda.

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24 thoughts on “Chaponda outlines measures to offset food shortages in Malawi”

  1. The voice says:

    This is the way to go.it sounds like a plan and it will thrive.Nanga njala Chaka ndi Chaka mwe.

  2. MAGGIE NDEKULE says:

    IMPROVE FARMING METHIDS
    I.E USE TRACTORS NOT HOES

    IMPROVE IRRIGATION SYSTEMS

    WHERE ARE THE TRACTORS
    GOVT BOUGHT FROM INDIA ???

    SEIZE ALL CASHGATE MONIES
    AND PROPERTIES USE THE MONEY TO BUY FERTILIZERS
    FOR FARMERS.

    WITHOUT THESE MAJOR
    THINGS FORGET ABOUT
    FOOD SECURITY.

    IT WILL JUST BE A SONG
    OF THE YEAR

  3. victor says:

    Nkopola irrigation site in Mangochi is very potential for maize production. Facilities are there only maintenance is required, why government is not serious on this scheme. mind you it is very close to the lake/shire.

  4. amadeus says:

    We have seen better plans before. Malawians and Africans at large know “what” needs to be done, but invariably do not have the faintest clue on “how” to do things!!

  5. Winston Msowoya says:

    Mr.Chaponda,we have heard such rhetorics a million times,but nothing tangible had been realized hitherto.It would be foolhardy to believe you can handle the new portfolio with deligent crafty,when you horribly mishandled the lesser complicated Ministry of Foreign Affairs.Let me think that you have been given these Ministries because you belong to the same ethnicity with Manthanyula.Well,we shall see how you will navigate the boat.Anyway,good luck.

  6. Brighton Linde says:

    Keep the fire burning Bwana. It is possible. We can end hunger with local and simple solutions. what we need is to be united and be common goal oriented.

  7. Madala says:

    More important, you should also be indicating clearly Where and how funds for the projects will be sourced in the face of the weak economy. Otherwise We may take this as the usual political rhetoric to fool Malawians.

  8. Little Bwana says:

    Eesh, not only have we been here before, but I can’t even count how many times we’ve heard this same rhetoric. It’s like that feeling you get when you know all the words to a song. Ask your grandparents about the dialogue they heard around agriculture, maize, and irrigation back in the day – same lyrics, different beat, round and round. 75% of irrigable land producing two yields of maize every year? A noble long-term goal indeed and one I pray will come true. Please, take it from me, in Kasungu we are real farmers alimi amphamvu ndi makhasu afupi osati atali. -LB

  9. The Partriot says:

    Talk is cheap, tiona bwana ngati zitachitike! Otherwise we have been here before, all talk but no action!

  10. Nyakwawa Mwase says:

    The plan seems laudable, comiing from a fool like Chapola, who wrote this for him? Will our half baked graduates from Bunda follow this through?

  11. Mkweni says:

    WHERE ARE THE
    TRACTORS KAMLEPO
    TOLD US ??

    FARMING WITH A HOE
    IS TIRESOME

  12. rody says:

    thats beautiful doc but dont forget to shake up the livestock dept. too ! u got a hell of work to do there !

  13. rody says:

    thats great doc !may i ask you to equally shake up livestock dept. too !

  14. rody says:

    u r welcome doc !

  15. rody says:

    i will be glad if you equally tackle livestock dept. doc
    .its not ticking anymore !

  16. rody says:

    thats good doc and dont forget to revive the dead livestock department too! im not surprised that nobody talks about this dept. its dead anyway ! wish u gd luck !

  17. Jahan says:

    27 hectares of land…..?
    27 solar pumps across the whole country……?
    1350 families to benefit…… ?
    I dont know if its just me, but these figures do not make sense at all. Lots of questions pop into my mind.
    Like, who are the families? How were they picked?
    27 hectares to feed the whole country?
    How will 1350 families share 27 solar pumps? Those families can’t even feed one district!!!!
    Is this Chaponda’s great plan?
    ….,,,,,

  18. Nyirenda says:

    Mr. Minister I know you are capable of leading these projects to their successful fruition. But ADMARC, if not cleaned up, will let you down. There is a lot of corruption and theft in ADMARC. Please clean it first. ADMARC is very inefficient and ineffective. Once again, clean ADMARC. You can do cleaning in many ways including firings. Malawians need ADMARC that has poor rural Malawians at heart.

  19. Thitherward 'wendo says:

    On April 25, an article in the NyasaTimes quotes the Minister of Energy, Natural Resources and Mining, the Hon. Bright Nsaka, as saying, “Government is planning to introduce FUEL ENGINES to replace TREADLE PUMPS which experience has shown are cumbersome to operate. The FUEL PUMPS will boost small scale irrigation . . . .”

    On May 1, the Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, the Hon. George Chaponda, is quoted as saying, “In its medium term plans spanning 2016 to 2020 . . . government intends to procure, distribute and install 27 SOLAR PUMPS across the country . . . .”

    Treadle pumps and solar pumps utilize renewable energy. Fuel pumps obviously do not. It seems to me that Agriculture is moving forwards while Energy is moving backwards.

    The Hon. Minister of Energy says, “experience has shown” that treadle pumps “are cumbersome to operate.” No doubt he intends to buy the fuel pumps; then wait and see what “experience has shown” are their shortcomings. I beg the Hon. Minister to do the research first. He will find that fuel pumps have many shortcomings.

    The reason that many of President Muluzi’s treadle pumps broke down is that they were not maintained properly and communities were not shown how to operate them for optimal efficiency and longevity. An adequately maintained treadle pump is reliable [and provides a regular upper-body workout – something that many Ministers might benefit from].

    I commend the Hon. Minister of Agriculture for ‘going solar’. Sometimes, such pumps are supplemented with small-scale hydroelectric projects. Research into the feasibility of such projects might prove useful.

    Finally, it would be very re-assuring to know that the Ministries of Agriculture and Energy are collaborating closely on projects that should concern them both.

  20. Thitherward 'wendo says:

    Please correct the figure for the area of land being targeted.

  21. Mapwevupwevu says:

    I dont like this guy but he is talking sense!

  22. Nyani wa ku Mwananyani says:

    Chaponda, man of sophisticated plans with clear strategy and tactics; always focused on the outcome. And he is realist, NOT a dreamer; as he has been around long enough in challenging positions and is not afraid of failure. Apparently, he also learns from failure, and just moves on. Like him or not, he’s the man of the moment.

    Does he and Akweni Kaliati perhaps share notes on how to get things done? There is truth in the saying that, as a manager, if you have a challenging project you should assign it a busy individual. This concept is advanced in management circles, and leaders in various organizations can attest to this.

    Readers can think of the reasons, by intuition or researching the subject. Just food for thought.

  23. Michael Kalukusha says:

    This is the best approach taken by minister, this is the minister Malawian wants

  24. mbani says:

    Weere will theu get the money?

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