The dry spell some districts in the Southern Region experienced recently will affect livestock production as farmers will struggle to provide feed to the animals, Malawi News Agency (Mana) has learnt.
Blantyre Agricultural Development Division (BLADD) Programme Manager, Erick Haraman, said recently that, due to the dry spell, many farmers will be busy searching for their own food instead of tending their livestock.
“The effect of the recent dry spell in all the seven districts under Bladd will affect livestock production since there will be serious scarcity of animal feed. This will compel subsistence farmers to walk long distances to get animal feed from dambo areas and other wetlands,” Haraman said.
He said dairy farmers in some areas have already started covering long distances in search of pasture and water for the survival of the animals.
According to Bladd, the hardest hit dairy farmers are from Bvumbwe, Chigumula, Mpemba, Milare, Nankumba, Mapanga, Luchenza and around Thuchila near Nkando where dairy farming is the main source of income.
Other areas such as Lisungwi, Lirangwe, Lunzu, Kunthembwe and the whole stretch of Zalewa, where farmers rear cattle for meat production, are also severely hit by the drought with no green feed for livestock.
“In anticipation for food scarcity, some farmers have opted to sell almost half of their total number of chickens to get money for buying the staple grain,” Haraman said.
The recent dry spell saw the government announcing that around 1.9 million people are at risk of facing food shortage in 2018.
Meanwhile, prices of maize have gone up from K4,500 to around K7,000 in some local markets.
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