Stakeholders in Nsanje have pleaded with government to declare the Lower Shire a disaster area following the prolonged dry spell.
One of the stakeholders, Concern Worldwide, says government’s delay to declare the dry spell an emergency is resulting in failure by various non-governmental organisations(NGOs) to solicit support from donors for winter cropping which would see most farmers food secure.
Nsanje Concern Worldwide area project manager Johannes Chikarate said government should not wait for Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee (Mvac) report as it would be provided in July which would be too late.
He noted that it is imperative to declare the Lower Shire a disaster area so that NGOs can mobilise resources in time for winter cropping.
“It is high time authorities realised that winter cropping is crucial for the Lower Shire’s food security as the summer crop mostly fail as a result of dry spells. Therefore, let me challenge government to treat the current situation as a disaster as well.”
Traditional Authority (T/A) Tengani echoed Chikarate’s sentiments, describing the situation as pathetic.
Tengani appealed to government to declare the dry spells an emergency as it would enable them access more support from donors to feed hunger stricken households.
Department of Disaster Management Affairs relief and rehabilitation officer Madalitso Mwale said there are steps that are followed before such a declaration is made, citing reports of acute food shortage among people in a particular area from Mvac as vital.