By Ernest Mfunya
Eastern Region Chapter of the Association of Catholic Journalists (ACJ) in Malawi on Thursday donated 2000kgs of maize seed worthy K4 million to 13 irrigation schemes in Mangochi in response to the effects of tropical storms and dry spells.
The response comes after a call from the Episcopal Conference of Malawi that catholic faithful should respond to people affected by Tropical Cyclone Ana and Gombe.
Speaking during the donation at Mangochi District Agricultural Offices, ACJ Eastern Region Chapter Chairperson, Raphael Mlozoa said the chapter thought of assisting the farmers to ensure food security since their crops were destroyed by the stormy rains.
Mlozoa also said that the donation was made considering that well-wishers, government and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) already provided other vulnerable groups with food and other non-food items which could only last for a few months.
“After the cyclones a lot of people, government and NGOs assisted with things that were of urgency like food, utensils as these were things that would only last for two to three months,” Mlozoa said.
“The maize seed will give the farmers opportunity to re-plant in their fields so that they will be food secure. These are typical farmers who depend on farming to earn a living,” he said, calling on the farmers to plant the maize seed accordingly to ensure food security in their respective homes.
Director of Agriculture, Environment and Natural Resources for Mangochi District Council, Enford Kanyimbo expressed gratitude to the ACJ, saying this was a good gesture.
“This donation will help the farmers who were greatly affected by tropical cyclones Ana and Gombe,” he said, pointing out that the seeds will be planted on about 80 to 93 hectares of maize which is enough to give the farmers 4.6 metric tonnes per hectare.
“It’s our wish and prayer that other organisations will be interested and willing to come in to support other farmers to realise their right to food,” said Kanyimbo.
One of the beneficiaries, Kamwana Chidule from Kamwana Irrigation Scheme in Traditional Authority Chowe said the donation was timely, adding that farmers in most areas lost their crops while others will have low harvest as a result of the stormy rains.
ACJ which has been in existence since 2008 is a grouping of catholic journalists in Malawi formerly known as the Malawi Association of Catholic Journalists (MACAJO).