Five thousand farming families that were hit by floods in Phalombe have been given an opportunity to re-establish themselves through a farm input flood response by the Malawi Government in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
Through the response, the Ministry of Agriculture and FAO have provided fertilizer and seeds for farmers to use in winter cropping as a way of beating food-induced hunger, currently looming in the areas that were hit by floods in the district.
Addressing some of the beneficiaries at Tamani Extension Planning Area recently, District Agriculture Development Officer for Phalombe David Alli said this was an opportunity for the farmers to escape the certain calamity.
“It is obvious that most of you do not have any food and it’s unlikely that you have means to quickly restore yourselves to the economic statuses you were in before the floods, that is why the government has decided to give you these inputs instead of just giving you food and clothes for only a few days,” said Alli.
He further called on the beneficiaries to use the inputs wisely and not to sale them for temporary immediate gratifications.
In March this year, heavy rains caused floods in most parts of Phalombe district, washing away at least 17, 000 hectares of farm land together with crops that were there, a thing that caused fears of hunger.
Among the inputs a household received included two packages of 10 kilograms top and basal dressing fertilizer, 2 kilogram packs of maize, beans and cow peas’ seeds, and also sweet potato plantains.
According the department of agriculture, the maize and fertilizer are enough for a quarter acre of land, and with proper care a farmer would be able to produce 10-plus bags of maize.
Assistant Disaster Risk Management Officer for Phalombe David Chibani told Malawi News Agency that the 5000 beneficiaries were a portion of the 22, 848 households that were affected by the floods and have been camping in public places such as schools until last week when the district initiated a camp closure exercise.
“This response is very convenient because it comes at a time when we are closing our camps and we want every household to go back to their respective villages, so these inputs will provide a reliable economic activity that will get them back to their feet,” said Chibani.
Commenting on the initiative, one of the beneficiaries Anna Mussa of Nkhalamba Village, Traditional Authority Jenala hailed the assistance which has been funded by the European Union.
The visibly relieved Mussa said she had run out of ideas of exiting her current situation until the donation came through.