By Fredrick Manda-Mana
Chiefs and Members of Parliament (MPs) in Nkhotakota have expressed concerns over the looming hunger in the district.
They say this is so due to dry spells and fall armyworms resulting into poor crop harvest amongst farmers in the previous growing season.
According to the Malawi Vulnerability Assessment (MVAC) report which Agriculture and Natural Resources Service Committee in Nkhotakota presented during a Full Council Meeting, 18,236 people are affected by hunger in the district.
“A total of 18,236 people have been affected in Nkhotakota district. It is for this reason that government intends to release 405 metric tons of maize that will carter for 4,052 households between the month of January and February next year in the district,” reads the report.
The report also indicated that there will be a once off maize distribution exercise this month which is done every year before the MVAC programme starts.
Reads the report in part: “This year Once-off programme in Nkhotakota has been allocated to 2,040 beneficiaries which have been distributed across all T/As in the district,”
Member of Parliament for Nkhotakota South Constituency Brainex Kaise said his constituency was heavily affected by previous disasters that have left many people remain food insecure and in need of humanitarian response.
Kaise asked for fair allocation of beneficiaries based on the status of the people, saying people in his constituency experienced floods, armyworms and elephants which destroyed their crops.
In his contribution, Member of Parliament (MP) for Nkhotakota North, Henry Chimunthu Banda stressed the need for council secretariat to strategize on the copping interventions that the district will take to avert hunger as a result of the Armyworms’ outbreak.
Speaking at the meeting, District Commissioner (DC) Medson Matchaya said scores of people in the district are facing hunger stating they need urgent food assistance.
Matchaya also asked the District Agriculture Development Office (DADO) to work with speed in countering the spread of armyworms which have so far damaged 10, 500 hectares of maize.
At recent meeting in the district, Vice President Everton Chimulirenji said government has set aside 8,129 metric tons of maize to help families who have been affected by hunger in all 28 districts in the country.