Mwapata Institute has urged the government and development partners to consider providing survivors of the devastating storms with agricultural inputs such as seeds, pesticides and livestock to enable them to recoup what they lost.
Mwapata Institute Executive Director William Chadza emphasised that production support is urgently needed.
Chadza made the remarks in Lilongwe on Tuesday when he briefed journalists on the findings of the assessment conducted to establish the impacts of Tropical Storm Ana on livelihoods and agricultural systems in Chikwawa and Nsanje districts.
Mwapata Institute and Policy Support for Agricultural Transformation (PolSAT) Project undertook a rapid assessment through key informant interviews and focus group discussions to understand how the storms affected households in the two districts.
Chadza said provision of seeds, pesticides and livestock to the survivors is crucial, stressing that it would lessen the burden on humanitarian relief once households start harvesting their crops.
“The survivors didn’t rescue any of their food stocks because the water levels were very high and fierce. If anything, flood survivors only managed to rescue their own lives. For instance, a family in Chikwawa reported having 12 bags of maize destroyed by the floods,” he narrated.
Chadza added that the loss of food has resulted in serious food insecurity and will likely lead to malnutrition, particularly among children.
The report from the assessment recommends rehabilitatation and strengthening of public infrastructures such as feeder roads, main roads, bridges, irrigation schemes, schools, and others destroyed or shaken by the floods.
It says road networks are particularly important to reconnect affected households to their economic livelihoods including markets and medical facilities.
“Storm Ana disrupted livelihoods and agri-food systems, particularly human lives, household assets, production, transport, distribution, markets and preparation for consumption. It is important to consider various short-, medium- and long-term measures,” the report reads.
It further warns that with climate change, the occurrence, frequency and severity of floods in Chikwawa and Nsanje district is likely to continue.