Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Karonga, Right Reverend Martin Mtumbuka, has appealed to well-wishers for financial support to relieve farmers in Karonga amidst dry spells that have affected over 33, 000 farming households in the district.
Mtumbuka made the call during an emergency appeal to international and local partners of the Diocese of Karonga.
In an interview Mtumbuka, said due to the prolonged dry spells that hit the district, many families are set to realise little for their yield, a situation that is likely to pose widespread hunger.
He added that the main objective of the appeal for funds is to empower farmers to diversify into livestock farming so that they should be economically stable in order that they can buy essential things like maize.
“The degree of how we developed learned civilized, religious, a society a nation and village is measured by the status of its weakest people hence the appeal for support to aid our people,” he said.
The Bishop has since encouraged farmers to embrace crop diversification saying the vice improves the resilience of farming systems to adjust to climatic conditions like dry spells.
Noting when crop diversification is fully utilized it can contribute significantly to household food security and climate resilience among others in communities.
On his part Senior Chief Kilupula whose area has been affected by the dry spells, hailed the Diocese for bringing the initiative describing it timely.
“We are in a dare situation a lot of our rice that my community planted wilted as such rice farmers in my area will harvest little from their fields,” he explained.
Franklin Msiska Development Desk Officer at the Diocese, advised farmers to plant drought tolerant crops like sweet potatoes and cassava and as well as embrace practicing soil and water conservation.
According to preliminary report from Karonga Agriculture Development Devision (ADD), over 10, 000 hectors of maize, rice and groundnuts have been affected by the dry spells.