A panel discussion organised by Network of Climate Journalists (NCJ) and Department of Climate Change and Meteorological Services (DCCMS) as part of preparations to celebrate the World Meteorological Day that falls on March 23, has predicted that Malawi will be hit by ‘serious’ hunger.
The discussion, chaired by DCCMS director Jolamu Nkhokwe and drew participants from NCJ and officials from Blantyre City Council and Blantyre Agriculture Development Division (Bladd), revealed that there is poor plant growth in most maize fields across Malawi and that most farmers who replanted will not achieve good harvests.
According to DCCMS, rains stop in March when maize crops are maturing. However, since the beginning of this month, there have been no rains in most parts of Malawi.
Blantyre ADD deputy programme manager Aggrey Kamanga said his office’s assessment has established that there is good yield in few farms that planted with the first rains in late December.
Kamanga, therefore, suggested that farmers be encouraged to grow additional crops such as cassava and sweet potatoes to supplement their maize harvests.
In an interview three weeks ago, Minister of Agriculture and Food Security Allan Chiyembekeza said it is too early to declare that there will be hunger this year and asked Malawians to wait for an assessment on expected crop yield.
This year’s World Meteorological Day will be commemorated in Nsanje under the theme Climate Knowledge for Climate Action.