Persistent dry spells in most parts of the country have affected over 30,000 families in Zomba District, with crops covering 140,000 hectares wilting.
Zomba District Commissioner (DC), Emmanuel Bambe, said the spell has even taken its toll on the district’s water bodies, whose levels are still very low despite the country being in the rainy season.
“The situation is really bad. Even boats on Lake Chilwa are failing to navigate because of low water levels. This is so because rivers flowing into the lake do not have enough water. If it does not rain adequately, the lake could easily dry up,” Bambe said.
He said rains have not been falling consistently in the district; hence, most crops planted by farmers across the district have wilted with little hope of recovering.
Bambe also disclosed that certain parts of the district such as Chisi Island have been hit with food shortages.
“I have reports of some three people fainting due to hunger in the Lake Chilwa area. But they regained consciousness after being taken to a local health centre,” he said.
The DC blamed the absence of rains in the district on wanton cutting down of trees, compounded by poor land husbandry practices.
He, therefore, called on traditional leaders in the district to take a leading role in discouraging their subjects from engaging in illegal cutting down of trees.
“Water resources continue to dwindle and rivers, lakes and dams are filling up due to siltation. There is a direct relationship between trees and water. Therefore, by planting and conserving trees, we will also preserve our water sources,” Bambe said.
Some of the affected crops are maize, groundnuts, peas, sorghum, cotton, beans and tobacco.
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