Agriculture experts say they anticipate good harvest this year, owing largely to the current rainfall patterns and increased access to inputs from the Affordable Inputs Program (AIP).
The Famine Early Warning Systems Network (Fewsnet) published on its website this week that the average to above average rainfall patterns for the 2020/21 season across the country, and the increased access to inputs from the AIP, have facilitated a very good crop stand.
Reads the report in part: “Overall, average cumulative rainfall from October 2020 to March 2021 is expected across the country, with localised areas of above-average and below-average rainfall possible.
“At the national level, average to slightly above average production is expected.”
In a written response on Tuesday, agriculture analyst Tamani Nkhono-Mvula agreed that these factors indeed give some hope of a good harvest this year.
He said: “We have really been having good rainfall in almost all parts of the country and an increased number of people applied fertiliser and planted hybrid seeds owing to the AIP.
“If the rainfall continues at this pace, a bumper harvest is guaranteed.”
However, Nkhono-Mvula observed that the only threat to some households’ food security will be the fall army worms that have attacked the maize crop in most parts of the central region.
Similarly, Farmers Union of Malawi (FUM) president, Frighton Njolomole urged all extension planning areas to be alert so that when the fall armyworms start, extension workers can just be going up and down to train people how to spray, or themselves spraying.
Ministry of Agriculture spokesperson Gracian Lungu indicated that although the first round of crop estimates has not yet been officially released, there are strong indications that maize production has increased due to an increased uptake of inputs.
The Tonse Alliance administration quadrapled the number of beneficiries of subsdised fertiliser from 900 000 under Farm Input Subsidy Progrsmme to 4.6 million under AIP to boost maize production.