Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (Luanar) has partnered Illovo Sugar (Malawi) plc to produce maize under irrigation at Dwangwa Estate which is expected to yield 700 metric tonnes (MT) by October this year.
In an interview on Saturday, the project’s team leader Thomas Ruben Nyanda, who is also a senior lecturer at Luanar, said the irrigation project is covering 103 hectares provided by Illovo Sugar.
He said the maize was planted in July to ensure food security as many fields were washed way during Cyclone Freddy which hit most parts of the Southern Region in March this year.
“We expect to get close to 618 000MT to 721 000MT, which is an estimated six to seven tonnes per hectare. Beyond the response to Cyclone Freddy, government aims to minimise poverty and ensure food security,” said Nyanda.
He said over 120 people have been employed through the K300 million project.
Illovo Sugar Dwangwa Estates general manager McLean Dembwe said the company has provided land which was under sugarcane production.
He said: “A community cannot thrive without food, so it was natural for us to respond positively when approached by Luanar in this project.
“This land is under sugarcane production, but we have foregone the opportunity of producing 11 000MT of sugarcane which is worth K800 million to respond to a good cause.”
In a separate interview, Nkhotakota district commissioner Ben Tonho commended Illovo Sugar Company for the project.
There were concerns over how government will respond to the food requirements of 4.4 million people at risk of hunger this year as the National Food Reserve Agency indicated recently that it will stock about 100 000MT against a demand of 219 023MT required for the hunger response.