Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development Joseph Mwanamvekha on Monday launched a K1 billion National Farm Input Distribution Exercise to support survivors of recent floods that led to loss of crops, property and lives.
Speaking during the launch, which took place at Thabwa Camp under Mitole Extension Planning Area (EPA) in Chief Mulilima’s area in Chikwawa, Mwanamvekha said the exercise is expected to benefit 100 000 households in 15 districts that were affected.
He said: “Government has given us this money to implement the farm input distribution exercise for those who were severely hit by floods so that they can get back to their farms and do winter cropping.”
The minister added that it was everyone’s responsibility to plant trees and restore the environment, saying government wishes to increase productivity and ensure enough maize stock so that no one dies of hunger.
Said Mwanamvekha: “This year, our ministry is distributing maize seed, potato vines and groundnuts. At the same time, government understands that flood survivors lack food and shelter.
“We will, therefore, source more funds to boost this intervention so that more people are reached with relief items.”
Paramount Chief Lundu commended government for the timely support.
“We want to assure you we will do winter cropping. We hope people will be going back into their fields,” he said.
Chikwawa district commissioner Lusizi Nhlane said over 9 000 hectares of land were affected by floods in the district.
“We have 4 487 hectares of maize field with 2 245 hectares of rice as well as 500 hectares of cassava fields destroyed in the just ended devastating floods. The rest of hectares share other types of crops,” he stated.
The national farm input distribution launch was done under the theme Irrigation Farming: Key to Food Recovery for Building Household Resilience.
Heavy rains in early March led to flooding and damage of infrastructure and crops in 15 of the country’s 28 districts.
The disaster affected 184 589 households and prompted the President to declare a State of National Disaster on March 8 to allow well-wishers come with various kinds of assistance.
In 2015, Malawi was also hit by a worst disaster which United Nations (UN) reported that 638 000 people were affected, 79 were killed and 153 went missing. n