President Peter Mutharika has called upon all Malawians and people of good will to hold special prayers to ensure the nation is blessed with good rains and a disaster free 2018-19 rainy season.
Impoverished Malawi is periodically hit by food shortages as the tropical southern African country relies heavily on rain-fed agriculture and most of its maize is grown on small plots by subsistence farmers.
In a statement made available to Nyasa Times in Thursday, Mutharika asked cabinet ministers and all senior government officials to lead prayer vigils at mosques and churches starting on Friday and throughout the weekend.
The statement signed by Chief Secretary to Government Lloyd Mhura indicates that the prayers be conducted from 26th to 28th October 2018.
“His Excellency the President of the Republic of Malawi Arthur Peter Mutharika is calling on all Malawians and people of good will living in Malawi do dedicate prayers for good rains and a disaster free 2018/19 rain season in respective Mosques, Churches and Prayer Houses from 26th-28th October 2018,”reads the statement.
Such a call can have resonance in deeply religious Malawi, which has high rates of church and Mosque attendance.
Thd Sadc State of Food and Nutrition Security and Vulnerability Report estimates that the number of people requiring food and nutritional assistance in Malawi before the next harvest will increase to 2.3 million in 2018/19, a 130 percent rise from one million people in 2017/18.
Released on July 9, the 2018/19 report attributes the increase in food insecure populations to the fall armyworm epidemic which hit the region in 2016/17 contributing to the reduction in maize production.
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