By Emmanuel Simpokolwe:
United States Agency for International Development (USaid) acting Mission Director Teresa McGhie has said the Russia-Ukraine conflict has the potential to cause massive disruptions in global food system, affecting countries such as Malawi.
McGhie said this on Tuesday in Traditional Authority Khongoni, Lilongwe, during the distribution of legume seed to 300 farmers through USaid’s Feed the Future Agriculture Diversification activity.
She said the war has culminated in rising prices of food, fertiliser and fuel worldwide, worsening the already staggering food crisis courses by the Covid pandemic and climate change.
“This has been a really difficult year, both here in Malawi and around the world. Farmers are at the heart of Malawi’s growth but, in order to have a good harvest, they need good rains and good inputs.
“I can’t help with the rain but I am happy to distribute these input packages, which include high quality legume seed. This means better yields, bigger harvest and higher income,” she said.
McGhie said USaid is investing over K12.3 billion in the initiative, which has a component for the provision of small loans for agricultural inputs for the upcoming planting season.
Agriculture Minister Sam Kawale said the distribution of seeds to rural farmers will support the government’s efforts of ensuring that there in enough food and income in households.
“The USaid-funded Feed the Future [initiative] has come at the right time when prices of food and fertiliser have gone up,” Kawale Said.
He said the government has lined up a number of programmes, including the Affordable Inputs Programme, social cash transfer, programme for physically challenged people and the elderly to make sure that people are food secure.
Feed the Future Director of Women and Inclusive Finance, Chikumbutso Mtemwa, said the project, which is aimed at addressing the food crisis in the country, is being implemented in 16 districts and that, by Friday this week, all the districts will have received legume seeds and inoculants.