Malawi News Agency
Blantyre Agricultural Development Division (Bladd) programme manager Eric Haramani says they have distributed 20 000 banana suckers and plantlets for nursery and orchard establishment in Mulanje, Thyolo, Phalombe and Chiradzulu districts.
The intervention comes after banana bunchy top disease almost wiped out the entire banana crop in Thyolo and Mulanje a few years ago.
In an interview last week, he said Bladd’s target is to have all farmers who previously had banana plantations to have access to clean planting materials.
Said Haramani: “Our short-term target is to produce and distribute two million disease-free suckers and plantlets to farmers in Mulanje, Thyolo, Phalombe, Blantyre, Chiradzulu, Mwanza and Neno.
“As of mid-January this year, we have managed to distribute 20 000 suckers and plantlets for nursery and orchard establishment in Mulanje, Thyolo, Phalombe and Chiradzulu.”
He said, so far, through the use of local structures, many farmers are complying with the recommendations of uprooting old crops, adding that the positive response has been stimulated by the availability of suckers from the nurseries.
In an earlier interview, Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, Kondwani Nankhumwa assured smallholder banana farmers that government remains committed to reviving the banana industry through the provision of clean planting materials for increased production.