Malawi: World Vision provides much-needed seed during food crisis

Mzuzu- World Vision (WV) Malawi recently launched a 25 million Malawi kwacha (USD 250,000.00) seed project targeting 9,000 households in three WV Canadian sponsored programmes in the northern region of Malawi.
The seed project, funded by WV Canada will benefit orphaned families, female headed families and poor families, among other beneficiaries, in Namatubi-Kanyenjere, Wovwe and Mphompha Area Development Program.

Speaking during the launch, the Agricultural Division Program Manager for Mzuzu Agricultural Development Division (MZADD) in the Ministry of Agriculture, Mr Khonje, said that the Malawi Government is pleased with World Vision's effort to rescue people by providing them with farm in-puts, especially this year when there is both food and seed scarcity.

"I am the happiest at this gathering because as an official from the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation, I know the importance of acquiring seed," said Khonje .

Khonje pointed out that the project is yet another role that World Vision Malawi is playing to complement government efforts. He therefore encouraged other NGOs to emulate this example.

He also observed that seed scarcity after last year's poor harvest due to floods and erratic rainfall has become a serious problem in Malawi and that many people are surviving on World Food Program food distribution being carried out by the Non-governmental Organisation Consortium and the church.

He further explained that domestic agriculture production in Malawi, especially among rural farmers has been challenged by the removal of subsidies, free market policies and liberalisation resulting in low income levels, particularly among rural dwellers, who constitute 85% of the countries population.

"In this crisis situation, farmers have thus lost production means. I am glad that this project will seek to encourage people to produce adequate food on their own," said Khonj.

In his remarks, Douglas Kulaisi, Regional Operations Manager for the northern region, appealed to people to use the farm in-puts that will be distributed to them, properly.

"The key issue today as we launch this seed project is: what we are going to do with the seed that we are going to receive. All of us must play a role to ensure that the seed that we will receive is planted and tended till harvest," advised Douglas.

Douglas pointed out that the project's goal is to mitigate hunger and starvation for the individuals in the targeted area development program, adding that the goal is meant to improve availability and accessibility of farm in puts to the family and communities and to improve food security at a household level.

The seed project will provide a total of 18 metric tons of composite maize seed; 36 metric tons of beans and groundnuts; 36 metric tons of soya beans, 2,700,000 cassava cuttings; 9,000 fifty kilograms of sweet potatoes and 90 metric tons of fertilisers.

This distribution will enable each farmer to receive enough seed for 0.4 hectares for each crop. The project results are expected to be sustained through the recycling of the crops being grown and in this way enable farmers to have their own seed for each growing season.