Norwegian Government has said it is committed to continue supporting Malawi in agriculture sector so that the country should end hunger.
The assurance was made by Norwegian Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Food Hanne Blafjelldal during a press briefing on International Treaty on Plant Resources for Food and Agriculture organised together with Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) at Bingu International Conventional Centre (BICC) in Malawi’s capital, Lilongwe.
In her remarks, Blafjelldal said Norway has been in strong relationship with the country in Agriculture sector and that will continue.
She further urged farmers in the country to practise crop diversification saying the treaty was meant for that since effects of climate change are affecting yields of the crops in the country and the world as a whole.
“Malawi and Norway have partnered in crop diversification through the treaty in order to make sure that farmers are food sufficient.
“Effects of climate change among other reasons are hitting Agriculture sector hard and that is dwindling the harvests. That’s when we need to be diversifying crops since it adds resistance to drought, diseases and pests that can help Malawians to be food sufficient,” Blafjelldal said.
She also commended local farmers for their commitment in diversifying crops to harvest bumper yields.
“In the past two days, I visited some areas in Mzimba among others where I witnessed how the Benefit Sharing Fund is benefiting farmers. I met a certain farmer who was harvesting few bags of maize but now he is harvesting over 120 bags since he diversified. He is independent and can do everything easily,” she said.
On his part, Norwegian Ambassador to Malawi, Kikkan Haugen said the country needs to diversify its crops to maximise yields so that Malawians should end hunger.
“Malawi needs to diversify its crops to among others make sure that the crops are adapting to climate change,” he said.
Dr Kent Nnadozie who is the Secretary of International Treaty on Plant and Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture hailed the progress that the country is making in diversifying crops.
He said that his visits to some parts of the country gave him a picture that progress is happening.
Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Assistant Representative (Programme) in Malawi George Phiri said the project will help the country to be food sufficient since the diversified crops will be giving high yields.
“The project will help farmers to restore traditional food crop types most of which are more nutritious and more tolerant to challenges currently facing the agriculture sector like long dry spells and diseases among others,” Phiri said.
The International Treaty is the major international agreement between member countries to manage plant genetic resources for food and agriculture around the world for the benefit of people everywhere. To date, this covers 64 of the world major crops, accounting to 80 percent of food derived from plants.