By Staff Reporter
People of Balaka in the area of Sub Traditional Authority Matola have commended President Dr Lazarus Chakwera for turning Balaka into a food basket.
Chakwera through Contingency Emergency Response Component (CERC), a built in program within the Agricultural Commercialization Project released about K20Million to help people who lost their crops and animals after Tropical Cyclone Ana hit the district.
Almost 13 Districts were affected with the calamity.
But speaking in an exclusive interview, Sub Traditional Authority Matola said was happy that people of his area will now be food secure.
He said Balaka is known as a hunger striken district with no hope at all.
“In the past all vulnerability reports have painted Balaka as a hopeless district with many households surviving on food aid distributed on Government programs.
But this is not the case this year courtesy of Agricultural Commercialization Project CERC,” he said.
CERC is an AGCOM component which is used to bail out disaster striken areas when a country has been declared a disaster area.
President is the only one mandated to activate the facility.
Martine Chiwaya is the Chair at Talandila Irrigation scheme. Chiwaya is thankful to Government and President Chakwera for introducing to them AGCOM which gave them 25 Kg of bottom fertiliser and 25 kg of upper dressing.
“On top of that AGCOM gave us 5 Kg seeds which helped us to have such vibrant maize,” he said.
He said the areas were heavily affected by Cyclone Anna and Gombe.
Yohane Tembo of Mkolomonjo Irrigation scheme which comprises of 38 farming households concurred with Mr Chiwaya in commending Dr Lazarus Chakwera saying this was the first time for farmers who benefitted from this program are to realise 25 to 30 bags of maize per half acre planted.
Director of Agriculture Extension Services Pearson Soko has since commended people of Balaka for making good use of the materials given to them.
He said giving the farm input is one thing and using them is a different thing as well.
“Am happy that most of the farmers have utilized the input so there is high productivity,” he said.
He said through the contingence program, the Ministry reached out to 39,000 farmers in all 13 districts with farm inputs.
“As Government we are oblidged to help farmers affected by disaster through contingency emergency response which is a component of AGCOM,” he said.
He said currently Government is still discussing to take action on the devastation farmers have gone through the Tropical Cyclone Freddy.
Soko was sure that Government will help farmers affected by this tragedy.
Soko said the good news is that in Balaka farmers are estimating that farmers may get 4 tons of maize per hectare which is very good.
Agricultural Commercialisation (AGCOM) Project is a Malawi Government flagship programme for transforming smallholder agriculture from mostly subsistence to commercial by linking together Producer Organizations (POs), service providers (including research and extension) and off-takers in a value chain, in a concept known as a Productive Alliance (PA).
Moderate Tropical Storm Ana was a deadly tropical cyclone that affected the African nations of Madagascar, Malawi and Mozambique and the third-deadliest tropical cyclone in 2022, after the Western Pacific Tropical Storm Megi and Hurricane. The storm hit the three countries from January 20 to 25, 2022. Experts estimate that the Ana damage at $25 million.