CERC excites farmers in Balaka

Farmers in Balaka district have expressed their excitement with the implementation of a programme dubbed ‘Contingency, Emergency Response Component (CERC)’ by Ministry of Agriculture.

The programme is being carried out under U$ 95 million World Bank funded project known as Agricultural Commercialization (AGCOM) and among other things it provides farmers with farm inputs such as; seeds and fertilizers during emergency periods triggered by natural disasters.

Soko (left)-posing with Tinesi in his maize field.

One of the farmers from Kachikuni Village under Traditional Authority (T/A) Matola in Balaka district who belong to Talandira Irrigation Scheme, John Tinesi said that as farmers they are benefiting more from the programme.

“In 2021 cyclone Anna destroyed our crops and we called the extension workers to visit us and see what happened, after their visit they reported about the problem we faced to the necessary Agricultural authorities, after three months that is when we saw the coming of CERC.

“After being affected by the cyclone we lost hope but CERC has helped us a lot whereby every farmer from our scheme received 5kgs of maize seed and fertilizers and we are still receiving help under the programme and this year we are expecting to harvest more yield,” Tinesi said.

He also said that, with the programme they are also learning best farming practices with support from extension workers.

Recently, the Ministry of Agriculture officials visited some farmers in Balaka district to appreciate how they are benefiting from CERC.

In his remarks, Director of Agriculture Extension Services, Pearson Isaac Jasi-Soko said that as the ministry they are glad to see how CERC is impacting farmers in the district.

“We are pleased to see that in Balaka district most of the farmers have managed to utilize the inputs which they were given under CERC, it is very common that when the farmers have been supported with inputs especially in the name of free inputs, they don’t utilize them accordingly.

“We are happy to see that farmers in Balaka are expecting to harvest more yields and this high productivity will be made possible because of the CERC,” he said.

Ministry of Agriculture has been implementing CERC since 2022 after cyclone Anna and Gombe damaged crops in the southern region.

About 39, 000 households from 13 districts in the southern region are targeted beneficiaries of the programme.

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