Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development Allan Chiyembekeza has called people in the country to reduce food wastes and take lesser meals during the lean period.
Chiyembekeza made the call in Thyolo on Tuesday when he visited farmers from Katundu and M’mambo villages in Matapwata and Thyolo Central Extension planning Areas (EPAs) to assess the crop situation and determine the impact of the dry spell.
He said floods and dry spells that hit most parts last year contributed to poor harvest of the staple grain that resulted into many families yielding.
“If you have food at home and you normally eat three meals a day please adjust yourselves to one and half meals. This is the only coping mechanism that can work in the current situation,” said Chiyembekeza.
On the current crop situation, Chiyembekeza said government was aware of the crop stand in the country as it was not only the district that was affected but a number of districts such as Chiradzulu, Phalombe and Mulanje were also affected.
The minister therefore explained that while government was still strategising on a lasting solution to the challenges, it has already planned to distribute cassava cuttings and sweet potato vines to the affected farmers to plant as an alternative.
On this note, Chiyembekeza advised the farmers to stop relying much on the rains but to divert to irrigation farming which has proven to be the best in the country and other parts of the world.
Said Chiyembekeza, “For the past two years we have seen the adverse impact of climate change and one of them is the unreliable rainfall pattern which has been so disastrous. Therefore we need to be shifting towards irrigation farming and also to do crop diversification.”
One of the farmers from Katundu Village, Francis Mwinjiro said farmers in the area do not have any hope because they planted with the first rains and the dry spell came at a time when the crops were at a flowering stage.
“We planted in mid December last year and the dry spell came when our crops were at an advanced stage. We cannot uproot and replant because the time has already gone. We just need help,” said Mwinjiro.
In his brief report, Thyolo District Agricultural Development Officer Raphael Mkisi said the district experienced dry spells for a period of four weeks from third week of December to second week of January.
“The four weeks of dry spell in the district had effects which ranged from mild to very severe. The total affected area was 27,110 hectares of various crops and out of that 10,888 hectares were severely affected and needed replanting,” said Mkisi.
According to the DADO, the food situation in the district as of this month is 29 percent whereas same period last growing season it was at 11 percent.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :