Machinga Agricultural Development Division (ADD), which comprises Balaka, Machinga, Mangochi and Zomba districts, on Tuesday joined the global family to commemorate World Food Day which falls on October 16.
Speaking at Chiendausiku Ground in Traditional Authority (T/A) Nsamala, Balaka district health officer (DHO) Owen Chikhwaza, who was the guest of honour, said the commemoration was vital because food demand was increasing both locally and globally due to rising population.
However, Chikhwaza said land productivity continued to be constrained by factors such as increasing land degradation, erratic rainfall, climate change and poor access to farm inputs, among others.
He said this yearâ€™s theme for the World Food Day, â€˜Agricultural Cooperatives: Key to Feeding the World,â€™ recognised the role cooperatives and other farmer-based organisations play in improving food and nutrition security as well as in the eradication of hunger.
Machinga ADD programme manager Gertrude Kalinde Thaulo encouraged smallholder farmers to engage in crop diversification, especially in the wake of erratic rains that often affected the ADD, most notably in Balaka.
She urged the farmers to take farming as a business.
During the commemoration, prizes were awarded to best performing cooperatives and farmer organisations. Winners included Lifumba Irrigation Scheme Group, Timvane Rabbit Group, Phalula Seed Multiplication Group and Upile Poultry Group.â€”Mana