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Monday, 28 May 2018 15:01

Blantyre District Council promotes sorghum production

Written by  Solister Mogha
Sorghum Sorghum

Blantyre, May 28, 2018: Blantyre District Council through the agriculture sector has urged farmers to grow sorghum as an alternative to maize to avert persistent food insecurity situations. 

Blantyre Environmental District Officer, Maxwell Mbulaje made the appeal on Friday during a field demonstration where farmers from Lirangwe Extension Planning Area (EPA) showcased various food products made from sorghum.

Mbulaje, who represented District Commissioner Bennet Nkasala at the function, said climate change has had devastating effects on farmers’ production across the country and that the situation was worse in rain shadow areas like Lirangwe EPA.

“Having experienced drought and some pockets of dry spells last year and other years before, government, through its Malawi Drought, Resilience and Relief Programme, provided farmers with sorghum seeds which are drought- resistant.

“In Blantyre, farmers started growing the crop last year, and today, we are happy to see the fruits of that initiative and how people have adopted sorghum farming,” Mbulaje said.

He said by looking at the expected crop production this year alone, famers who grew the crop would not have food insecurity challenges in their households.

“Let me encourage you to continue growing the crop if you want to remain food secure, and please, encourage other farmers to take sorghum farming seriously,” Mbulaje stressed.

During the field day, apart from showcasing nsima and rice, farmers also displayed other kinds of food prepared from sorghum like cakes and sweet beer.

District Agriculture Development Officer (DADO) for Blantyre, Linda Mphande said sorghum production was highly viable in the district because it was a drought tolerant crop. She recalled that the district was not spared from the effects of climate change.

“Perhaps what needs to be done is to intensify on processing, utilisation and dietary diversification because currently, it is a tradition that sorghum is only for making sweet beer. Very few use it as a substitute for maize,” Mphande said.

In his remarks, Group Village Headman Masinje commended the agriculture sector for introducing the crop in the area, saying many farming families have found a relief in terms of alternative source of food.

“We only used to find it in the Lower Shire but it is time for us to also start growing the crop since we could survive on it in case maize fails,” GVH Masinje said.

Malawi’s’ Lower Shire is the only area commonly known for sorghum production. This is due to its hot weather and insufficient rains. However, persistent drought and dry spells may force other parts of the country to start growing the crop as is the case with Blantyre.

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