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Vice-President tells farmers to develop resilience

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Vice-President Saulos Chilima has called on farmers in the country to develop resilience to climate change.

Chilima made the call in Blantyre Thursday during a resilience initiative insurance payout ceremony under the R4 Rural Resilience Initiative.

“The trend [climate change] has increased farmers’ vulnerability to weather shocks such as the dry spells experienced in the just-ended growing season,” Chilima said.

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He further said disasters negatively affect food security, lead to stagnant development and stress the population.

“While government and its partners provide relief food to affected populations during emergencies, this intervention has failed to break the cycle of food insecurity because they did not build resilience,” he said.

At the ceremony, 254 farmers received money totalling K38,000— which they used to insure their productive assets during the 2017/18 growing season.

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“I would like to commend the 254 farmers of Chiweta Group for deciding to insure their productive assets. For me, it has been inspiring to note the active participation of women in the Resilience and R4 Initiative, particularly through village savings and loan groups,” he said.

United Nations World Food Programme Country Director, Benoit Thiry, said the initiative is one component of the integrated resilience approach, which has helped poor farmers to pay for drought insurance with their labour.

“Protecting farmers’ investments with insurance means that when a shock hits, compensation for losses prevents farmers from resorting to desperate measures, such as selling their livestock or taking their children out of school,” he said.

The initiative has been prioritised in shock-prone areas, with specific focus on drought affected areas that are highly food insecure and dependent on rain-fed agriculture.

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