Karonga Agricultural Development Division (Kradd) has warned that unless farmers in Karonga District adopt irrigation farming, people in the district will be food insecure this year.
This follows a report by the division that maize production in the district has declined by 50 percent in the 2015/2016 growing season.
Speaking during a panel discussion on Saturday organised by Self-Help Africa to find ways of addressing climate change effects, Kradd principal land resources conservation officer Emily Thela said the maize crop was damaged by floods and dry spells that hit the district.
“Karonga was heavily affected by El Nino that caused floods in the northern part, and dry spells in the southern part of the district. As a result, the crop either washed away or wilted,” said Thela.
She said their projections indicate that maize production in the district has declined by 50 percent during the 2015 to 2016 growing season.
“Thus maize production declined from the annual recommended 80 000 metric tonnes to about 39 000 metric tonnes,” said Thela.
She, however, said the district would harvest more rice.
“We expect that the production of rice in the district will increase by 28 percent, as compared to last year. However, it is not enough to feed the whole population in the district, hence the need for people to start expanding their crop produce through irrigation farming,” said Thela.
Karonga has a population of over 300 000 people.
Last year, government, under the Climate Adaptation for Rural Livelihoods and Agriculture (Carla) project constructed three 10-hectare irrigation schemes in Karonga to boost irrigation farming in the district. n