MwAPATA Institute calls for agricultural production inputs support to survivors of tropical cyclones

MwAPATA Institute has called for swift support with agricultural production inputs, including seeds, pesticides and livestock to survivors of the recent devastating tropical cyclones in Chikwawa and Nsanje districts.

MwAPATA Institute Executive Director William Chadza said providing the survivors with agricultural inputs at this moment would enable them to take advantage of the wet season and alluvial deposits from the floods to produce enough food for their families.

“This type of support is important because it will lessen the burden on humanitarian relief once households start harvesting their crops,” Chadza said at a press briefing held at the institute’s Head Office in Lilongwe.

Chadza (gesturing) briefing journalists on the findings of their recent assessment on the impacts of Cyclone Ana in Chikwawa and Nsanje–Photo by Watipaso Mzungu, Nyasa Times

The presser was called to brief journalists on the findings of the assessment conducted to establish the impacts of Cyclone Ana on livelihoods and agricultural systems in Chikwawa and Nsanje.

MwAPATA Institute and Policy Support for Agricultural Transformation (PolSAT) Project undertook a rapid assessment through key informant interviews and focus group discussions to understand how the cyclone affected households in the two districts.

Chadza stated that since the survivors were taken unawares, they did not have the chance to “rescue any of their food stocks because the water levels were very high and fierce.”

“If anything, flood survivors only managed to rescue their own lives. For instance, a family in Chikwawa reported having 12 bags of maize destroyed by the floods,” he narrated.

MwAPATA Institute research analyst Zephaniah Nyirenda (standing) making a presentation on the findings of the assessment–Photo by Watipaso Mzungu, Nyasa Times

Chadza added that the loss of food has resulted in serious food insecurity and will likely lead to malnutrition, particularly among children.

Some households lost virtually all household assets, particularly productive assets, including hoes, treadle pumps, panga knives, knapsack sprayers, axes, mattresses, bicycles, chairs, tables, livestock and others were lost to the flood. That’s why there is a need for swift support with agricultural production inputs, including seeds, pesticides and livestock as one of the mechanisms for rehabilitating them,” he said.

A preliminary report Nyasa Times has seen gives a number of short, medium and long-term recommendations to the government and development partners on what they need to do to empower the survivors so that they fully recover from the devastation.

Among others, MwAPATA Institute and PolSAT say there is a need to rehabilitate and strengthen infrastructure, including feeder roads, main roads, bridges, irrigation schemes, schools, and others destroyed or shaken by the floods.

They say road networks are particularly important to reconnect affected households to their economic livelihoods including markets and medical facilities.

“With climate change, the occurrence, frequency and severity of floods in Chikwawa and Nsanje is likely to continue. There is, therefore, need to implement a permanent resettlement scheme for households in Chikwawa and Nsanje districts, especially in flood-prone areas,” reads part of the report.

“The relocated households should have the opportunity to maintain their low-lying lands for agricultural production while residing in upper lands. Cyclone Ana disrupted livelihoods and agri-food systems, particularly human lives, household assets, production, transport, distribution, markets and preparation for consumption. It is important to consider various short-, medium- and long- term measures,” it adds.

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