CHIRADZULU (Malawi News Agency) – Some farming families in the areas of Traditional Authorities (T/As) Nkalo and Ntchema in Chiradzulu are set to harvest less maize due of the outbreak of fall army worms and dry spell in the two areas.
In an interview with the Malawi News Agency (Mana) on Saturday, one of the farmers, Joel Kaulalo from Mwinjiro 1 Village, TA Ntchema said though this was maize harvest time, farmers in his area would harvest nothing.
“We benefited from the Affordable Input Programme (AIP) and we had all the hopes that this year, we are going to harvest much as usual, but dry spell and fall army worms have affected us much,” he said, adding that the District Agricultural Office assisted the farmers to control the fall army worms but it did not work.
Farmers in the area are urging government and other organisations to find other means to deal with fall army worms in the coming season to reduce food insecurity.
Kaulalo and other small holder farmers in his area used to harvest enough to keep them going but this year the story is different.
“I used to harvest 15 to 18 bags of maize which were enough to feed my family and I was used to sell in order to buy basic necessities” he said.
Another farmer, Mphatso Sauso from Nkalo area said if the agriculture office assists them with potato vines, cassava cuts and other crops food shortage in the area would be minimise.
With low maize production, she said it would be difficult her and fellow farmers to support their families even with small scale businesses nothing can change the situation.
“Business has been affected with Covid-19 pandemic,” Sauso added while suggesting top up to revive affected businesses to sustain the livelihood of many farming families in Nkalo and other equally affected areas in Chiradzulu while hope for better yield was shattered.
Representative of TA Ntchema, Wilson Saini said farming families in the area need relief food to contain the impending hunger adding that families need farm inputs for in areas
where irrigation farming was possible.
He urged government to provide them with potato vines for people to grow potatoes and encouraged people do irrigation farming.
High maize production is expected among farmers in most parts of country following a successful implementation of AIP, according to recent report by the Ministry of Agriculture.