Karonga chiefs push Malawi gov’t to include local crops on food security drive

Traditional leaders in Malawi’s northern border district of Karonga are asking the government to take a bold step in improving local crops if issues of food security and increased food nutrition at household level are to be achieved.

Speaking during the Agricultural show at Mlale area, Senior Chief Kalonga said he was disappointed noticing that less attention was paid to local crops such as millet.

“Am very disappointed to see that we did not pay attention to some of the local varieties which are very important in our district which are the most nutritious and readily available a thing we can use to end hunger in the district if improved,” he said.

He added that some of local foods such as millet are  resistant to diseases and drought which is the important aspect considering the climate change hitting the country saying people will still have food if hit by drought.

“Since 1940s these local crops such as millet, bananas and many others where main food crops here in Karonga because crops such as maize where not performing well here but with the coming of improved technologies of agricultural activities such crops are forgotten which is a worrisome development,” said Kalonga.

A female farmer receiving a bicycle for the work well done.- Photo by Tiwonge Kumwenda/Nyasa Timex
A female farmer receiving a bicycle for the work well done.- Photo by Tiwonge Kumwenda/Nyasa Timex

Karonga Agricultural Development Division (KRADD) Program Manager Daniel Yona said his office is looking into the matter.

“We are now doing research on the same with the research department because we know that with the change in climate crops such as maize are unpredictable as such these local crops can help to reduce hunger and poverty in the country,” said Yona.

He added that although the crops have almost disappeared but they are very important as they can constitute proper diet in home consumption.

“All we know is that to achieve food security in our country there is no need to undermine other crops and with the demonstration we will be having people will be able to use the crops in their dairy life,” said Yona.

Meanwhile, the Program Manager said the Agricultural show will help the community to appreciate their achievement and to draw reasons on how to improve on their crops the coming season.

At the end of the agriculture show several farmers went home with gift as an inspiration   to their good work. The gifts included bags of fertilizer, bicycles and wheel barrows.

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