Drought-hit Karonga farmers appeal for support

Farmers in Karonga have pleaded with well-wishers to support them with seeds for drought resistant crops for them to replant following prolonged dry spell, which has left about 33, 000 farmers destitute.

Speaking Friday in an interview, one of the rice farmers of Mwafilaso Village in the area of Traditional Authority (TA) Kyungu, Kisa Phiri, said planting drought resistant crops is the only solution to the situation.

“We planted our rice, but was destroyed by the dry spell, we have no hope of harvesting anything. We will be happy if we can be assisted with cassava and potato vines that mature early and are drought resistant so that we can have some food,” said Phiri.

Phiri: we need solar powered irrigation equipment

Meanwhile, Foundation for Community Support Services (FOCUS) Executive Director who is also Chairperson for Council for non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in Malawi (CONGOMA), Kossam Munthali, has appealed to President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera to declare Karonga District a disaster area for experiencing persistent droughts.

“As CONGOMA through our district focal points we have identified Karonga as another long-standing disaster area due to persistent droughts that have affected crops such as maize and rice,” Munthali said.

Munthali has also appealed to NGOs and the general public to help the people of Karonga with relief food items and other basic necessities and improved farming technologies.

The dry spell has destroyed 7,175 hectares of maize, 1,958 hectares of rice, 1958 hectares of groundnuts, and 49 hectares of tobacco.

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