Blantyre Agricultural Development Division (ADD) has distributed 20 000 banana suckers and plantlets for nurseries and orchards in Mulanje, Thyolo, Phalombe and Chiradzulu districts.
Blantyre ADD programme manager Eric Haramani said in an interview that their target was to ensure that farmers, whose bananas were attacked by the bunchy top disease, have clean planting materials.
He said: “Our short-term target is to produce and distribute two million disease-free suckers and plantlets to farmers in the seven districts under the ADD.
“But we have only managed to distribute to four districts as of mid-January this year.”
Haramani said 95 percent of the plants have survived and are producing suckers.
He said most farmers are complying with recommendations to uproot old crops.
“The positive response has been stimulated by the availability of suckers from nurseries and humidity chambers we constructed,” he said.
In September 2019, Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development Kondwani Nankhumwa assured smallholder banana farmers that government remained committed to reviving the banana industry through the provision of clean planting materials.