Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, Joseph Mwanamvekha has said government iis going to respond to Makanjira dry spell by conducting a quick assessment of the damage to determine humanitarian support that will be needed.
He said this on Thursday in Mangochi when he inspected crop fields in Mpilipili EPA that have been heavily hit by the dry spell.
The Minister’s visit followed a report that the office of the District Agricultural Development Office for Mangochi released recently sounding an SOS for Mpilipili Extension Planning Area (EPA) in Makanjira where crops have wilted beyond survival.
After inspecting the fields, Mwanamvekha said the situation was an emergency that called for immediate action to support thousands of the affected households.
“From the look of things, it’s impossible to give the farmers seeds for replanting and it’s unfortunate that there is no irrigation scheme around,” the minister added.
He continued that, “But we are going to immediately sit down with disaster department to see what kind of humanitarian assistance will be needed.”
The Minister pointed out government, through the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA) would assess the impact of dry spells and Fall Army Worms at national level to determine the needed response.
He promised the communities in Makanjira and in all other areas affected by drought in the country not to panic as the country has enough stock of maize in reserve for such emergencies.
“We have enough maize for everyone in the country as you’d recall that some stakeholders were pushing government to sell out maize but government said we shouldn’t until we had enough stock and here the President has been vindicated; imagine if we had no maize in stock,” Mwanamvekha assured.
The District Commissioner (DC) for Mangochi, Reverend Moses Chimphepo said as government would be mobilizing support for the affected households, the Council would turn to other alternatives.
He said the Council and Agriculture Department in the district would consider if cassava and potato vines would be the best option for the affected households to turn to.
Traditional Authority Makanjira and legislator for Mangochi North Constituency, Benedict Chambo hailed the minister for the visit and they both appealed for immediate support to the affected households.
According to the report that the Mangochi District Agricultural Development Officer (DADO), Owen Kumwenda, released on the Mpilipili EPA dry spell, 4,774 hectares of maize belonging to 9,150 farm households were affected.
As at Monday, January 15, 2018 Mpilipili had received 138.3 mm of rains in 10 rainy days in the current season while last season at same time, the EPA had received 431mm in 26 rainy days, according to the DADO’s report.
The major crops that have been affected in the EPA include maize, rice, groundnuts, cowpeas, pigeon peas, ground beans, burley, finger millet, pearl millet, sorghum, sesame and cotton.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :