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Dry spell worries farmers

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As fall armyworms continue to destroy crops in the country, farmers are being haunted by yet another nightmare, a dry spell which has lasted for two weeks in some parts of the country.
The dry spell has mostly hit parts of the Central and Southern regions where some crops have started to wilt.
In the Southern Region, Nsanje, Chikwawa, Mwanza, and some parts of Blantyre have been most hit.
“We last had rains a day before Christmas. My maize crop is now wilting. The situation has worsened because I had just weeded the field and the crops were fully exposed to the heat of the sun,” a farmer from Mwanza said.
In the Central Region, similar cases have been reported in parts of Lilongwe, Ntcheu, Ntchisi and Mchinji.
Director of Climate Change and Meteorological Services in the Department of Climate Change and Meteorological Services, Jolamu Nkhokwe, said the dry spell is as a result of the subsiding air surrounding Tropical Cyclone Ava over Madagascar which is suppressing cloud development.
“It is true that some parts have not received rains since Christmas. This is due to the air around the tropical cyclone which is preventing cloud development. As you know, there is need for enough clouds to form for rains to fall,” Nkhokwe said.
According to Meteorological Department records, temperatures have averaged between 33 to above 35 degrees in the Shire Valley and relatively higher than usual in most areas.
However, rain fell in some parts of the country Tuesday.

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