Chaponda outline ‘rescue plans’ for Malawi hunger crisis

Mphatso Nkhoma – Nyasa Times

No room to dose  any longer, government has assured Malawians that it is doing everything possible to ensure that no Malawian dies due to hunger in the 2016/2017 agricultural production year, as Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, George Chaponda said 1,290,000 metric tonnes is needed to avert worsening the hunger situation in the country.

Women queue to buy maize at Zingwangwa Admarc depot
Women queue to buy maize at Zingwangwa Admarc depot

Speaking  in Parliament when he presented a  ministerial statement on the Current Food situation in the county, Chaponda told the House that government has put in place immediate, medium and short measures to ensure that Malawians have sufficient food to eat due to the hunger that is expected to affect over eight million Malawians.

According to Chaponda the measures which he calls “Rescue Plans” are  inline with the
agriculture sector investment policy framework,  the Agriculture Sector Wide
Approach (ASWAp), and the Irrigation Master Plan and  Investment Framework.

These investment frameworks seek to realize the sector’s targets as espoused in the Malawi Growth and Development.

Chaponda said according to the Second Round Agricultural Production Estimates Survey (APES) released his ministry in March the country’s main staple food, maize has registered a reduction of 12.4 percent as compared to the 2014/15 final round estimate.

He said maize production declined from 2,776,277 metric  tons in 2014/2015 to about 2,431,313 metric tons  in 2015/16.

According to the Minister in two  years, the country has registered a cumulative 42 per cent of maize production decline.

Apart from maize production decrease , Chaponda said  the country has also registered decrease in rice (21.6 percent), cassava (0.1 percent), sorghum (27.1 percent) and millet (40.9 percent) with production of sweet potatoes and potatoes increasing by 3.2 and 0.1 percent, respectively.

“Mr. Speaker Sir, the short term measures are; immediate in nature, covering the 2015/16 fiscal year and part of the 2016/17 financial year; while the medium term measures, on the other hand, cover the year 2016/17 through to about 2 to 3 fiscal years. The long term measures will be implemented in 5 years and beyond.

” Some of the measures government will focus mostly on irrigation measures to utilize both existing and new irrigation schemes under the management of both smallholder and commercial farmers for maize production, Local maize procurement, maize importation, distribution and installation of the already-available motorized pumps to increase the area under irrigarion,” Chaponda said.

In his opening State-of- the-Nation Address of the 2016 to 2017 Budget meeting of Parliament in Lilongwe Friday, President Peter Mutharika said government has invited interested private sector investors to undertake commercial irrigation farming in the country in order to address the food shortage in the 2016 to 2017.

Mutharika added that government has provided ADMARC with financial resources to procure maize soon to ensure that markets are fully stocked with maize.

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6 years ago

Maize grows and matures in 90 days. I do not see the essence of buying when we can irrigate such that by Septmber we would have maize in excess. Use the money to bring in water pumps and employ Malawians to do the job and earn a living. There is enough water COVERING THE FULL LENGTH of the country to do this job. Let us wake up and do things on our own. God blessed this country with natural resources- clean water and fertile soils. DO NOT BUY MAIZE. GOW IT OURSELVES NOW.,

6 years ago

My vote for Agriculture Minister goes to Wayunyika. Chaponda can go back to sleep.

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