Malawi President Dr. Joyce Banda has said ‘a cow a family’ initiative that she officially launched at Mpasa Trading Centre in Paramount Chief Mkhumba’s area in Phalombe on Wednesday, February 27, 2013, aims at empowering families to own livestock in Malawi in addition to crop farming.
The President said the initiative, which is under Presidential Initiative on Poverty and Hunger Reduction, targets vulnerable households that do not own cattle in the rural areas.
Speaking to thousands, the Head of State said in line with her vision of improving peoples’ livelihoods and the country’s economic growth and food security, she initiated the Presidential Initiative on Poverty and Hunger Reduction.
“Under Presidential Initiative, through Small Stock Project, Government has already distributed 9,500 goats and sheep to 156 groups in all the districts across the country. The program is targeting communities and has identified vulnerable groups particularly women who benefit through increased household incomes, diversified food sources, and the manure obtained is used to increase crop production,” said President Banda.
She pointed out that the overall beneficiary will be the national economy through the increased production and reduced imports on meat and meat products.
It is expected that by the end of this programme, there will be increased meat and milk production, value addition through processing, marketing and of course increased consumption, thereby reducing poverty and hunger, she said.
The President noted the important role that the livestock sector plays toward the economy of this country, saying it contributes 11 percent of the GDP.
She also said the livestock industry is very important as it provides food in form of meat, eggs, milk and milk products, noting the consumption of these products at household level is the most effective way to reduce incidences of malnutrition.
“Secondly, Livestock is also a reliable source of income through sales of animals and animal products. Thirdly, Livestock provides draught power which reduces human drudgery and improves timeliness of farm operations. In addition livestock provides manure which improves crop yields.
“Lastly, Livestock also plays significant social security roles and obligations and many less privileged groups are now mainstreamed in livestock programs and activities,” said Dr. Banda.
According to the President, the livestock industry has registered significant improvement in terms of production, noting that cattle population, which some six years ago was at 650,000, has now gone up to 1.2 million.
“Three years ago the country had only 3.4 million goats, but the number has currently gone up to over 5.2 million which is a significant increase indeed. The poultry industry has also increased tremendously from 12.8 million chickens in 1996 and has now grown up to 58 million in 2012. Malawi is currently self sufficient in poultry and poultry products,” observed the Malawi leader.
On floods that had hit the district, the President said government would assess which households had completely lost their houses and that new houses would built for them. The exercise would be repeated in other districts that had faced the same problem.
The President also pledged to continue to distribute free maize to the hungry in the floods hit areas and all over the country. She donated bags of flour to 1,000 people at Mpasa.
Earlier, the President made a symbolic presentation of a cow to six out of the 30 beneficiaries in the area.
A representative of Paramount Chief Mkhumba hailed the President for her “kindest gesture”, saying the initiative will significantly improve people’s livelihood in the area. She pledged that the people of the area would support the governing People’s Party (PP) and that “we will give you the votes”.
Legislator for Phalombe South, Davies Nyadani and Agriculture and Food Security Minister Professor Peter Mwanza also thanked the Head of State for her “visionary leadership”.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :