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Agriculture Crisis Response Initiative bails out Cyclone Freddy survivors from food insecurity

Smallholder farmers in Chiradzulu and Blantyre districts have hailed the government for providing farm inputs as a response to agriculture production losses that were induced by Cyclone Freddy in 2023.

The Ministry of Agriculture through Sustainable Agriculture Production Programme (SAPP) came up with a Crisis Response Initiative in some districts to cushion farmers who lost almost all farm produce (crops and animals) for that year.

One of the farmers who has benefitted from the SAPP programme, Annie Yakobe from Thumbwe EPA in Chiradzulu District, says the initiative is a dream come true for the area whose crops were washed away during the Cyclone Freddy catastrophe.

Annie Yakobe in her groundnuts garden

“I and my fellow farmers received 30kgs of groundnuts seed that we planted and we expect to get over 500kgs instead of 750kgs because of the dryspell that affected the area. But I am happy that I will be able to sell groundnuts and buy food for the family,” said Yakobe.

Another farmer, Patrick Kuminga of Mpaso Village, T/A Onga in Chiradzulu, received five goats while Jacinta Zimbiri from Chipande EPA in Blantyre received 10 chickens. All these farmers are in groups of 15 where they are practicing a pass-on programme to ensure that the animals are spread in the districts to all affected farmers.

Speaking to MBC, Chiradzulu District Director of Agriculture Services, Denis Zingeni, said the SAPP Crisis Response Initiative has reached out to over 3000 farming households who were affected by Cyclone Freddy with different packages.

Zingeni said the effect of Cyclone Freddy to the agriculture sector was huge and that the programme is helping in rebuilding the value chain for the people’s livelihoods.

Smallholder farmers from Chiradzulu, Blantyre, Balaka, Lilongwe, Dowa and Chitipa districts received maize seed, fertilizer, groundnuts and Soya seed, goats and chickens as a start up to rebuild their agriculture production after the natural disasters destroyed their crops and animals in 2023.

According to SAPP National Coordinator, Rex Baluwa, the project aims to protect the livelihoods of poor rural households and producers while reinforcing their resilience.

The one year programme is funded by IFAD through the Ministry of agriculture to the tune of $8 million.

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