AGCOM CERC Project turns Balaka into food basket district

Contingency Emergency Response Component (CERC), a built-in program within the Agricultural Commercialization (AGCOM) Project, has played magic in one of Southern district of Malawi and this is Balaka.

Balaka is known as a hunger stricken district with no hope at all. In the past, all vulnerability reports have painted Balaka as a hopeless district with many households surviving on food aid transported on Government programs.

But this is not the case this year courtesy of CERC, which is an AGCOM component used to bail out disaster stricken areas when a country has been declared a disaster area.

Martine Chiwaya is the chairperson of Talandila Irrigation Scheme. Chiwaya is thankful to government for introducing to them AGCOM, which gave them 25 kilogrammes of basal and 25 kilogrammes of upper dressing fertilizers.

“On top of that, AGCOM gave us 5 Kg seeds, which helped us to have such vibrant maize,” he said.

He said the areas were heavily affected by Cyclone Anna and Gombe.

Yohane Tembo of Mkolomonjo Irrigation scheme of 38 farming households concurred with the Mr Chiwaya saying for the first time, farmers who benefitted from this program are expected to realise 25 to 30 bags of maize per half acre planted.

Director of Agriculture Extension Services Pearson Soko has since commended people of Balaka for making good use of the materials given to them.

AGCOM official (left) and a farmer appreciating the maize cobs

He said giving the farm input is one thing and using them is a different thing as well.

“Am happy that most of the farmers have utilized the input so there is high productivity,” he said.

He said through the contingence program, the Ministry reached out to 39,000 farmers in all 13 districts with farm inputs.

“As Government we are oblidged to help farmers affected by disaster through contingency emergency response which is component of AGCOM,” He said.

He said currently Government is still discussing to take action on the devastation farmers have gone through the Tropical cyclone Freddy.

Soko was sure that Government will help farmers affected by this tragedy.

Soko said the good news is that in Balaka farmers are estimating that farmers may get 4 tons of maize per hectare which is very good.

AGCOM Project is a Malawi Government flagship programme for transforming smallholder agriculture from mostly subsistence to commercial by linking together producer organizations (POs), service providers (including research and extension) and off-takers in a value chain, in a concept known as a Productive Alliance (PA).

Moderate Tropical Storm Ana was a deadly tropical cyclone that affected the African nations of Madagascar, Malawi and Mozambique and the third-deadliest tropical cyclone in 2022 thus far, after the Western Pacific Tropical Storm Megi and Hurricane.The storm hit the three countries from January 20, 2022 – January 25, 2022. Experts estimate that the Ana Damage was at $25 million.

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