By Wanangwa Tembo MANA
Minister of Education Madalitso Kambawauwa Wirima says it is important that farmers cultivate diversified food crops to reduce reliance on maize as El Nino threatens this year’s growing season.
Wirima who is also Member of Parliament (MP) for Kasungu North East Constituency said this on Saturday when she donated maize to over 1,000 vulnerable households in the constituency.
She said climate change has affected agriculture production in the country hence the need for farmers to produce diverse crops and adopt climate smart farming practices to remain food secure.
Wirima said: “Through engagements with chiefs and constituents, I learnt that there is a big problem of hunger for many families because of the changing rain pattern and also because some farming families failed to buy fertiliser in time the previous growing season.
“However some families harvested enough grain but now they have since sold it to offset some of their many family problems they have. So the reality is that there is hunger and the people need support.”
She said while government has planned to distribute maize to the vulnerable households in the coming months of January and February, it is important that individuals and non-state actors also come in to assist, that is why she organized resources in her own capacity and donated the maize to the constituency.
“We have thousands of people in need of food and government alone cannot reach to everyone. That is why I decided to donate the maize to give people some relief for a few days as they wait for government support.
“Equally I call upon well-wishers to do the same because if the people are hungry now, it will affect their farming activities this season and result in another famine next year,” she said.
While thanking the minister for the donation, Sub-Traditional Authority Chinyama asked government to expedite the distribution of Urea fertiliser which he said is not available in the area.
In Kasungu district alone, hunger has affected 143, 000 people and at least 31, 778 households have been earmarked to receive relief maize through the 2023/2024 National Lean Season Food Insecurity Response Plan for a period of two months.