About 90 percent of the population in Mangochi North (Makanjira) constituency is on the verge of experiencing food shortage due to dry spell which has already affected maize and rice fields.
Malawi is about to experience food drought as a result of the dry spell which weather experts said has been caused by the El Nino weather pattern.
The situation, assessed by Nyasa Times which visited the constituency is really dire with crops drying up in fields due to hot and dry conditions exacerbated by poor rainfall.
Mangochi North (Makanjira) constituency has a population of over 150,000 people and its Member of Parliament (MP), Benedicto Chambo has since called on government and other well wishers to quickly intervene to ensure nobody dies of hunger.
Chambo on Thursday donated five tonnes of maize seeds worth K6 million to 2,500 farmers to foster irrigation farming inorder to improve the situation.
Aside the donation, the Parliamentarian has also hired two Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR) trained irrigation technicians to assist the farmers.
“The maize seeds will help to reduce the impact by 10 percent, but we also hoping to acquire from government and well wishers farm inputs and irrigation equipments to ensure the situation is drastically reversed,” explained Chambo.
“We are looking into other ways of helping the people because the food situation is not pleasing. Irrigation farming is only key alternative right now to ensure farmers are empowered and families are able to have food despite the dry spell”.
Out of 2,500 farmers, 1,200 of them operate in seven schemes established by the Parliamentarian and are supported by government. The schemes are Mapata, Mnenje, Chilinda, Mchangani (Kanthu Nkhama) Chiya, Lizini and Songo. 1,300 farmers operate individually.
Farmers in the seven established schemes have water pumps provided for by government while those that operate individually are in need of pumps as they are currently using water canes.
“It pains me that the area is facing food drought when it is just 20 metres away from the Lake of Malawi. I feel there is lack of political will on the part of government to ensure such areas are utilized in producing more for the nation. This is why I established the schemes and we are currently working on empowering the farmers with skills and necessary equipment,” added Chambo.
He revealed that currently were in talks with some non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to support the schemes”.
Chambo added: “While working on the irrigation farming, I ask government to ensure there is enough maize in Makanjira Admarc depot throughout the year. We also need additional Admarc depots to reduce distance people walk in search for maize”.
Malawi is one of the countries affected by the dry spell which has hit hard part of the Sub-Saharan Africa. About 2.8 million are expected to face food shortage, according to assessment by government and other stakeholders.
In 2015, the country struggled with floods that were triggered by heavy rains resulting in low crop yield and a floundering economy.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :