Balaka district chief agriculture, extension and natural resources officer Denis Zingeni has bemoaned the prolonged dry spells the district has experienced.
Zingeni said during a District Civil Protection Committee meeting that 7 467 hectares (ha) of maize crop, three ha of cow peas and four ha of groundnuts have been affected.
He said: “This year we started on a good note and the crops were promising although there were some variations in the onset of rains across the district.
“The first rains came on November 10 2020 in Bazale, Mpilisi and Ulongwe extension planning areas. These rains were not sufficient for planting. However, about 2 percent of farmers planted their crops.”
He said this was followed by a dry spell that lasted 16 days which affected the crops.
But Zingeni said in some areas the maize is doing well, especially where rains fell between November 25 2020 and December 5 2020.
He said the dry spells have affected 20 365 farming households in the district.
Balaka District Agriculture Extension Coordinating committee chairperson Edward Mwale said it was sad to experience such bad weather.
He said: “We have moved quickly to help the affected farmers. For example, Churches Action Relief and Development is distributing sweet potato vines to 700 farmers in Utale.
“Again, National Smallholder Farmers Association of Malawi is distributing goats to 75 farmers in the affected areas.”
The dry spells have affected Bazale, Mpilisi, Phalula, Rivirivi, Ulongwe and Utale areas in the district.
Balaka is one of the country’s districts which experiences dry spells almost every year.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :