Farmers in Thyolo have expressed fear that “serious hunger” will continue to loom in their district as they have failed to realise good maize harvest due to the January floods and hopes of a better cassava harvest are fading.
The Nation’s visit to Traditional Authority (T/A) Kapichi’s area in the district, established that most farmers will not register good cassava and sweet potatoes harvests.
In an interview, one of the farmers in the area, Mary Bizwick, said after yielding a little maize during the harvesting period, she put her hope in cassava, but now the hope is withering.
“I have a piece of land where I usually harvest 10 bags of maize. This year, I yielded less than a bag and it is finished. My second hope was cassava, but the yield is poor and I don’t think I will even get a bag this year,” said 48 year-old Bizwick.
Bizwick took The Nation through her garden while uprooting some cassava tubers, but what came out were thin tubers while in some planting stations, there was completely nothing.
After the floods, Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development Allan Chiyembekeza advised farmers not to replant maize seeds, saying it was too late and advised them to plant tuber-cuttings because they are drought tolerant and have a low failure rate.
Cassava is a substitute for maize as it is used to make flour, sometimes it is consumed raw either fresh or dry and can be cooked separately or mixed with pigeon peas for a meal.