Thyolo District Council has urged farmers to grow sweet potatoes as a dry spell has shattered expectations of a bumper maize harvest in the district this year.
Acting district commissioner for Thyolo Arnold Jumbe said his office is working tirelessly to find some alternative ways which farmers should rely on, saying currently the maize in the fields has been paralyzed at a tender age following the dry spell which happened when rain stopped from January to February this year.
Jumbe was saying this on Tuesday in the area of Traditional Authority Ndalama in Khonjeni during the distribution of 750 vines of sweet potatoes to 150 farmers, a support made by the Afri-Aus (Africa-Australia) Care International Organization.
Jumbe said: “I am deeply concerned seeing our good grown maize being hit by the dry spell. We did not expect this; instead we were all expecting to have bumper harvest this year. But even though we have experienced this dry spell, do not lose hope because my office is seeking interventions as well as lobbying well-wishers to assist with whatever support. And here being Afri-Aus Care coming in with this support.”
Speaking on behalf of Afri-Aus Care founding director, Ken Gunsalu who is the country director for Afri-Aus Care said they are concerned with the situation at hand which has been caused by the dry spell and have therefore decided to make that intervention.
Commenting on the situation, Director of Agriculture for Thyolo Jackson Nkombezi said several Extension Planning Areas (EPA) have been hit by the dry spell in the district.
“It is not only here in Khonjeni EPA that is hit by dry spell but also Dwale, Thekerani, Masambanjati and Matapwata EPAs. But we are trying to encourage farmers to replace these maize damaged by sweet potatoes and also if they have Dambo’s should plant maize in those maize,” said Nkombezi.
Traditional Authority Ndalama appreciated the support made by Afri-Aus Care international organization saying at least people in the area will have something to lean on.
Khonjeni EPA which is in the area of Traditional Authority Ndalama has over 24,000 households.