Gregory Gondwe, Malawi Best Blogger 2014

Monday, December 8, 2008

HIGH FERTILISER PRICES PORTENDS HUNGER THREAT FOR MALAWI

High fertilizer prices this year is a threat to the country’s current food security status achieved in the last two years.

Chief Irrigation Officer for the European Union and Malawi Government supported Income Generating Public Works Programme Mr. Patrick Mautanga said this on Wednesday in Mzimba.

He said realising the danger the programme has now gone flat out encouraging farmers in the country to switch to extensive usage of manure.

Income Generating Public Works Programme is a Malawi Government programme funded by European Union aimed at contributing towards the reduction of poverty.

The programme intends to achieve this through the enhancement of the socio-economic situation of rural and peri-urban population through improving accessibility, infrastructure and promotion of productive activities within the said areas.

The programme which is also enhancing district assemblies is using labour intensive approaches to implement interventions in roads, forestry and irrigation works which is carried out in 15 districts and has benefited over 7000 farmers.

The Mphundwe Irrigation Scheme was started after perennial hunger experience that rocked the area which is in traditional authority Mabulabo in Mzimba district.

Mrs. Grace Shawa said their children used to suffer from malnutrition due to hunger and they were forced to start the initiative after noticing that the surrounding villages had succeeded in achieving food security through irrigation farming.

Group Village Head Man Chibisa Phiri of the area said for seven years some of the villages under him have been practicing irrigation farming but their efforts were not bearing any fruits since a lot more villages were not willing to join forces.

Now with the project at Mphundwe, which has 45 beneficiaries 35 of them women, there are now four out of the fifteen villages that he looks after, that are yet to join the rest in irrigation farming.

Since the programme provides farm inputs including fertiliser and seeds to help the farmers start off, Chief Irrigation Officer for the Programme Mr. Patrick Mautanga said there is danger that the programme won’t continue due to high fertiliser prices.

A 50 kilogramme bag of fertiliser is now selling at between K10 thousand and K13 thousand kwacha.

This could however defeat the purpose of ending hunger in the country and he said the best solution is to start using manure in place of fertiliser.

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