While the country is pregnant with expectation that it will receive good rains in the 2020/2021 agricultural season, there are fears that there still could be food challenges next year as subsidized inputs, promised by the Tonse government during campaign, not yet on the market.
According to the Department of Climate Change and Meteorological Services (DCCMS) there is great optimism of good rains, a crucial agent in Malawi’s agriculture.
The department said: “Giving the outlook of October to December 2020 MET said most of the southern and central areas are expected to receive normal to above-normal rainfall amounts.
“Those in northern areas are expected to receive normal to below-normal rainfall amounts. During January and March 2021, most areas in the South, Center and the North are expected to receive normal to above-normal rainfall amounts.”
Director of the department, Jolam Nkhokwe, however warned of pockets of dry conditions mostly over the South and Centre.
“The forecast implies that during the 2020/2021 rainfall season, there is high chance of many parts of the country receiving good rainfall,” said Nkhokwe.
A Mzuzu-based socio-political commentator, Jack Msiska, has said this is the right time for the Tonse government to make sure that the subsidized farm inputs they pledged during campaign, especially fertilizer be available on the market so that farmers can start preparing in time but said government had failed.
Msiska said the Tonse government “has started on a bad note by failing to fulfill most of its promises of which subsidized farm inputs is one of them.”
He said: “The failure by government to procure farm inputs will actually lead to hunger, and the Tonse government will have to be 100 percent blamed on that hunger crisis.”
The Tonse government, among others, promised that they would subsidise a K50 kilogram bag of currently at around K20 000 to below K5 000.
But a quick enquiry Nyasa Times conducted in Karonga and Chitipa agro-dealers, including Farmers World Limited, showed that there was still no sign of subsidized farm inputs.
“We are really getting a lot of people who are asking about and are ready to pay for the cheap fertilizer, but the thing is that we have not been told to sell at the subsidized price,” said one of the shop attendants who did not want to be named.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :