Thyolo District Commissioner Douglas Moffat says the council is serious with its initiative of restoring banana farming and make Thyolo main supplier of bananas in Malawi as it was before Chisaka virus attacked bananas in the district.
Moffat said that to show seriousness, the council has established laws that whoever shows resistance to uproot the old bananas which were attacked by diseases and replace new banana variety will be considered as an enemy to the council and the law will take its course.
He said this on Friday 2, 2021 during the official launch of banana farming restoration initiative held at Group Kuweruza 2 in the area of Traditional Authority Changata in the district.
“The council is much interested to restore back banana farming here in Thyolo. So, we are working hand in hand with the office.
“As we know that our banana farming has gone down because of banana virus. So, in order to make Thyolo retain its position of main supplier for banana in Malawi, as council through Agriculture office we have decided to embark on this initiative of banana farming restoration. And as communities we need to be serious as well for this to be achieved, therefore we are urging you all to remove out completely old bananas and replace new banana variety,” said Moffat.
He further added: “But whoever resist to remove old bananas will put herself or himself in a position of an enemy to the council and chiefs and traditional leaders have been empowered enforce laws attached to banana restoration initiative. And this initiative I would like to be happening once per month as we do with cleaning initiative so that we reach all areas with this ceremony.”
To spice up the banana farming restoration, Moffat pledged to award villages that will completely remove old bananas and replace them with new ones by giving them cattle saying it will also be one way of increasing milk production besides motivating villagers to remove old bananas.
In his remarks, the program manager for Blantyre Agricultural Development Division Eric Haraman said office of agriculture is ready to supply new banana varieties through Research Stations but encouraged people to remove first all old bananas.
Thyolo banana farming restoration ambassador Senior Chief Khethemule, who also spoke on behalf of Traditional Authority Changata, applauded the council and office of agriculture for coming up with such initiative saying it will improve living standards of people once the banana restored back as others pay school fees through banana business.
Thyolo district was attacked by banana virus popularly known as ‘Chisaka’ in early 2000s and dwindling economic status of families who rely on banana farming.
Similar banana farming restoration were held at Thekereni, Masambanjati and finally at Molele.