Minister of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare Jean Kalilani has warned traditional leaders in Chikwawa against excluding persons with disabilities in development activities.
Speaking on Saturday when she visited Ndakwera Disability Scheme in Sub-Traditional Authority (ST/A) Ndakwera’s area in the district, the minister said she is aware that some traditional leaders are refusing to give land to persons with disabilities to cultivate simply because they have a disability.
She said: “Some are discriminating against persons with disabilities in Farm Input Subsidy Programme [Fisp]. This is not acceptable.”
The minister said the population of persons with disabilities in Malawi is about 1.3 million and if they are left out of agriculture and other development activities, the country will not win the fight against poverty.
Malawi Council for the Handicapped executive director Peter Ngomwa said during the flag week, his council raised over K2.5 million out of the intended K8 million which they had hoped they would use to buy solar panels at the scheme.
He said the scheme has nine visually impaired farming families with 36 hectares of sorghum for irrigation farming and would like to see these farmers streamlined.
“We believe with support, persons with disabilities would be self-reliant,” said Ngomwa.
During the visit, Kalilani took a hoe and helped Nastazia Kathotho, one of the farmers in the scheme, with her garden work. n