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Blantyre, October 10, 2017: As the 2017-2018 rain season is about to commence, scientists in the country have discovered chemicals of controlling the devastating fall army worm which affected maize production in the 2016-2017 farming season. 

Senior Deputy Director of Agriculture Services Thomson Chilanga said Bvumbwe Research Station is finalizing tests on the chemicals that are proving very effective and will be releasing the results very soon.

“We are going to make the final analysis of the activities and instruct the local chemical distributors to make sure the chemicals are available across the country,” said Chilanga who is also manager for the research station.

He said scientists have discovered 2 to 3 chemicals that were proving very effective on fall army worm and they are in the process of naming them as per scientific research requirement.

Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development Joseph Mwanamvekha expressed satisfaction with the work that the scientists were doing in the field of disease and pests’ management as well as improved varieties and breed.

“Research scientists are doing great work in edifying Malawi’s agro based economy. But there is still need for more effort to address challenges that the research stations are facing so that they upscale efficiency,” Mwanamvekha said.

He added that in the face of climate change, which has affected the country’s agriculture productivity in the recent years, the works of researchers need to be prioritized in coming up with resistant varieties and breeds that can withstand disease and harsh environmental conditions.

The minister, therefore, revealed plans to meet the three major research stations national wide to discuss existing challenges and find possible solutions for maximum productivity. The three stations are Bvumbwe, Chitedze and Lunyangwa.

The fall army worm was first discovered during the 2016-2017 agriculture season and damaged over 140, 000 hectares of maize national wide.

Thursday, 28 September 2017 13:38

President Mutharika returns Monday from #UNGA

His Excellency President Prof. Arthur Peter Mutharika returns to Malawi on Monday having successfully attended the 72nd UN General Assembly.

According to a public announcement from the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC), President Mutharika is expected to return on Monday, 2nd October 2017, at 12:30 p.m. through the Kamuzu International Airport (KIA) in Lilongwe.

In the announcement, dated 28th September, 2017, Chief Secretary to the Government, Lloyd A. Muhara said the President attended the UNGA72 and other engagements.

Nsanje, July 28, 2017: Nsanje District Commissioner has strongly condemned the practice of denying people from the flood prone area of Traditional Authority Nyachikadza in the district access to essential services such as health. 

Malawi News Agency can reliably reveal that communities in Nyachikadza have had no access to praziquantel drugs which prevent and treat Bilharzia on reasons that the area was allegedly declared a no-go-zone.

However, District Commissioner Gift Rapozo trashed the claims by making his stand clearly that Nyachikadza communities have a right to access all essential services within their locality just like all other Malawians.

“In fact, the area was not declared a disaster area. Initially it was just a proposal. We have areas like in the east bank which are also prone to disaster but still more people travel to work. What is wrong with Nyachikadza area?” queried Rapozo.

According to Rapozo, Nyachikadza communities have enough reasons to cling to their ancestral land as it is so fertile which is good for their food and income security.

He said the best way to handle such issues is to devise measures aimed at minimizing the extent of damage disasters cause when they strike other than forcing them to relocate.

Recently, Nyachikadza communities have been denied access to some of the health services as some medical officers confided that as per the rules of their work, they have to guard against the safety of their lives first before saving other people’s lives.

They revealed that it has been difficult and it will continue to be for medical practitioners to accept to travel to Nyachikadza as they will be no compensation in cases of mishaps.

However, in times of elections, Nyachikadza communities have been voting in their respective areas despite the claim that the area is a no-go zone.

Blantyre, May 24, 2017: The World Health Organization (WHO) of the Africa Region Office has called upon its member states to include tobacco control in their national policies, plans and SDG implementation frameworks as one way of reducing tobacco-related diseases.

According to a press statement issued by WHO ahead of the World No Tobacco Day which falls on 31 May every year, tobacco kills more than 7.2 million people per year with over 80 percent from low or middle income countries.

In the statement, WHO Regional Office Director for Africa, Matshidiso Moeti, has asked countries to fully implement the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco (WHO FCTC), including raising tobacco taxes to reduce its demand.

The press statement further states that the revenue generated for governments can be used to finance universal health coverage, health promotion as well as other development programs.

“I urge individuals to help make a sustainable, tobacco free world, either by never using tobacco products, or by quitting the habit,” said Moeti.

The Regional Director further urges individuals to protect their health and that of people exposed to second hand smoke including children, other family members and friends.

Moreover, he says tobacco control can break the cycle of poverty, contribute to ending hunger, promote sustainable agriculture and economic growth and combat climate change.

“Let us all support tobacco control to save lives, uplift development and reduce health inequalities,” he said.
According to the WHO, for the Africa Region, the cost of healthcare from tobacco smoking is 3.5 percent of total health expenditure each year.

Tobacco production in Malawi is the nation’s major source of forex, and as of 2010; the country was the world’s leading producer of burley leaf tobacco.

Every year, on 31 May, WHO commemorates World No Tobacco Day to raise awareness on risks and dangers associated with tobacco use and exposure to tobacco smoke.

The theme of the 2017 World No Tobacco Day is; Tobacco- a Threat to Development.

Ntcheu, May 13, 2017: Government through Shire River Basin Management Program (SRBMP) has provided enterprise development grants amounting to K162 million which would be disbursed on loan basis amongst community members of natural resources conservation groups who are undertaking environmental rehabilitation activities at the upper Lisungwi River catchment in Ntcheu.

Speaking at Namisu Primary School during the symbolic presentation of K18, 250,000 cheque to one of the groups, on behalf of the chairperson for Ntcheu District Council, Councilor, Shimita Njovu, said there are nine natural resources conservation groups at Upper Lisungwi River and each groups will get K18, 250,000.

“This grant is meant to serve as a loan facility which should be accessed by members of these groups and even those who are not members of the groups. The idea behind the grant is to ensure that members of these groups should embark on alternative businesses other than selling charcoal,” said Njovu.

He expressed worry that most households in the area depend on charcoal selling for their livelihoods, a development which he said continues to impact negatively on initiatives and interventions which are geared to redress environmental degradation at Upper Lisungwi River catchment.

“With the provision of this grant, it is my hope that charcoal making business would no longer be a livelihood activity as it is expected that loans accessed from the grant will make you embark on environmental friendly businesses,” he said.

He then advised members of the community to ensure sustainability of the facility by paying back their loan in time so that the facility grows into community managed revolving fund.

Earlier, a member of SRBMP technical team, Alice Gwedeza said government decided to provide the grant to communities at upper Lisungwi River Catchment, as an incentive which if put to good use, would reduce pressure on over dependency on forestry related activities for the communities livelihoods.

“Our intention is to see most of you shift from charcoal selling to other small scale businesses which are environmental friendly,” said Gwedeza.

She said Lisungwi River forms part of Shire River Basin and if rivers within the basin are protected from degradation, the result is that the country can be assured of sustainable hydro power generation and reduced flooding incidences in the Lower Shire.

 “Degradation of river banks within the Shire Basin continue to fuel siltation of the Shire River, a situation which in most cases has led to over flooding of the river,” she said.

Shire River Basin Management Programme is a Malawi Government Programme which is funded by World Bank.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017 05:38

Man dies after excessive drinking

Lilongwe, March 28, 2017: A 38-year-old man on Monday died after excessive drinking on an empty stomach at Area 24 in Lilongwe. 

Lilongwe Police Station Public Relations Officer Inspector Kingsley Dandaula identified the deceased person as Lazalo Champion from Balamu village in the area of Traditional Authority (TA) Njolomole in Ntcheu district.

“On Sunday March 26, 2017, the deceased person had gone drinking and while there he collapsed and became unconscious. His brother took him back home where he was given some porridge to eat and he seemed to have recovered.

“Later in the night the two went to sleep and next morning the brother went to work without checking on his brother’s condition and upon arrival at work he received a phone call that his brother was not waking up,” Dandaula said.

The matter was reported to Area 24 Police Unit who took the body to the Kamuzu Central Hospital mortuary pending postmortem.

Kasungu, March 26, 2017: Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) consultation meeting with stakeholders Thursday in Kasungu was halted for over an hour after stakeholders demanded copies of what was being discussed. 

After opening the meeting, next on the agenda was to cross check current centres and proposed centres.

However, stakeholders were not happy with the MEC officials who were reading the names of centres while they did not have a copy to cross check.

"We want copies of this information because there is no way we can keep this by heart,” Member of Parliament for Kasungu East Madalitso Kazombo argued.

Agreeing with Kazombo, MP for Kasungu Central, Amon Nkhata said for him to make informed decisions there was need for the copies as reference.

Traditional Authority Chidzuma shared the same views of having copies made available to the stakeholders for easy referencing.

Some murmuring could be heard accusing the Commission of being careless because it was supposed to prepare well for the meeting.

Director of Information Communications Technology at MEC Muhabi Chisiza tried to reason with the stakeholders saying those from the said areas should confirm the centres.

This still fell on the deaf ears of the stakeholders.

After exchanging words, but with no any progress made, Commissioner Evelyn Ntafu decided that a recess be taken to sort out the issue.

It took over one hour to make copies of the list of current and proposed centres.

The meeting resumed after the copies were made available to the stakeholders though not enough as they had to be in groups.

MEC is currently conducting stakeholders meetings to get views from the people on the problems concerning boundaries that are overriding in councils and also constituencies.

New York: Monday, 13th March, 2017:The Minister for Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare, Jean Kalilani has said Malawi has done very well in economic empowerment of women especially in the work sector at the continental level. Kalilani made the remarks during a side event organized by the Malawi Government in conjunction with UN Women on the margins of the Commission on the Status of Women 61 (CSW61) in New York.

The Minister said that Malawi is among the three Member States in Africa that have more employment rate for women after Rwanda and Burundi. 

“The Government of Malawi is committed to ensure that women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work is a reality. It is against this background that at the continental level, Malawi is among the three Member States in Africa that have more employment rate for women after Rwanda and Burundi,” she said. 

Kalilani further said that Malawi has defined the economic empowerment of women as the increased women’s access, control and benefit to factors of production such as land, technology, capital, training, marketing and labor. She therefore called upon policy makers, advocates, researchers and activists to work and strategise to mobilise and plan new initiatives and actions to further the women’s economic empowerment.

“Malawi has mobilized women groups to engage in economic empowerment in order to formalize the informal sector through the creation of cooperatives. Technology has been provided for value addition, quality control and packaging for marketing,’ she added.

She further stated that Malawi is at a point of compiling the products catalogue as an international marketing strategy and the buy Malawi campaign positions the women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work at the centre of the achievement of the sustainable development goals and Beijing platform of Action.

The minister called upon men to help in caring for children in order to give women space to effectively participate in economic empowerment. 

“I wish to assure you that putting money in the women’s pockets is uplifting the family because 90% of it is invested in the family needs compared to 30% by men,” she said.

In his remarks, the Malawian ambassador to the United Nations Necton Mhura said that it is essential for Malawi to share its success globally as the country has made a lot of progress on economic empowerment of women especially on the value chain addition and the buy Malawi campaign. He invited partners to join with Malawi in ensuring that the progress made reaches and benefits more Malawians.

Chairperson of NGO-Board Emma Kaliya emphasized the critical role that CSO’s in Malawi play in the economic empowerment of women.

“The work of CSO’s in Malawi is to amplify the voices of marginalized women, lobby for the implementation of gender instruments, conduct research to provide evidence based interventions, work with government to develop laws and policies and lobby parliament to enact the laws; and link women to markets,” said Kaliya.

Parliamentary Women’s Caucus Chairperson Jessie Kabwira applauded Malawian men for their decisive support in the enactment of the laws which promote gender equality, women economic, social and political empowerment; ending child marriage, trafficking in person and the constitutional review on the age of the child across party lines. 

Outgoing Secretary for Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare Mary Shawa emphasized on the policies which government has put in place such as capacity building, establishment of Women’s Fund, signing of the COMESA Trade Agreement for women, promotion of green economy through provision of solar energy and environmental friendly products; and processing quality control, packaging, and marketing as part of the buy Malawi campaign.

The side event had on display products made by Malawian women  which included laptop andphone bags made from chitenje, preserved export quality tomatoes by Kwithu Kitchen and agricultural produce from local Malawi women which attracted a lot of attention and demand.

 

New York: 13th March, 2017: The Minister for Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare, Jean Kalilani has called upon commonwealth leaders to deliberately put in place legal instruments which will promote gender parity on the care of persons affected with polio. Kalilani said this at a panel discussion organized by Global Citizen to commemorate Commonwealth Day and highlight the role of the Commonwealth to achieve sustainable development.

 

The event was held on the sidelines of the CSW 61in New York and the Minister represented President Peter Mutharika who was invited to the event to share the landmark review of the constitution on the age of the child and ending child marriage.

 

“Polio comes at different stages of a human life as long as the infected person was not immunised at the right time. The unfortunate part is that polio affects young children at times adults. Regardless of whoever is affected, the women bear the burden of care for the affected person and if the affected person is a girl child she is discriminated. At the same time, the care work limits the women’s ability to contribute to the economic empowerment of their families, communities and the nation,” she said.

Kalilani said that to mitigate the impact of the effects of polio on caregivers, the Government of Malawi has intensified immunisation and the coverage is above 90% virtually rendering polio almost eliminated. She however added that there are some individuals who became polio victims and require special attention and support for them to be productive citizens.

“Malawi has gone a step further to harmonise the pieces of legislation on the age of the child by amending the constitution to be in line with the Child Care Protection and Justice Act, Marriage, Divorce and Family Relations Act, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child which puts the child as anybody below the age of 18. The harmonisation of the child age, gives Malawi a rallying point for intensified vaccinations to reach 100% of all children in Malawi. The intensified awareness campaign during the review process of the constitution assisted Malawi to enact the reviewed amendment with acclamation,” added Kalilani

She further stated that Malawi is equally committed to achieve the 90:90:90 target on ending AIDS by 2020 and ensure that the 50:50 gender parity is achieved by 2030. The minister also invited the global community to support Malawi’s efforts to implement and popularise the laws, while ensuring that gender parity is achieved and polio is eradicated.

 

During the panel discussion, which aimed at discussing gender equality and polio eradication through women empowerment, Ellen Chilembawho is a Youth Advocate for Malawi and Founder of Tiwale Youth Organization in Lilongwe also highlighted the work her organization is doing in women empowerment. She indicated that Tiwalehas 150 young women memberswho are being trained in entrepreneurship, and that 40 of themare running viable businesses. The organization exports tie-dye material to America online and the money is used as capital for the business enterprise for the women in the group.

 

The event attracted members of the Commonwealth countries and the speakers came from the permanent mission of the United Kingdom, the Director of Global Citizen and the ambassador for commonwealth in the United States of America, a polio health worker from Pakistan, a representative from CNN and UNICEF Polio director.

 

 

Thyolo, January 23, 2017: Thyolo National Initiative for Civic Education (NICE) Trust says it is receiving positive feedback from people affected by social cultural issues in their communities because of its deepening citizen voice program.

NICE District Civic Education Officer Moses Kaunda made the remarks at a District Advisory Forum (DAF) meeting on Thursday saying, people are now able to voice their concerns to Non State Actors as well as Government Departments on development and social service issues that are not going on well.

“For example on food distribution that is going on, we have received so many complaints and we have used all efforts in collaboration with the district council to iron out all concerns.

“The most interesting thing is that the voiceless are now able to voice out their concerns because we enlightened them through campaigns we conducted across the district,” he said.

He said because people are able to voice out issues concerning their day to day life, authorities will be accountable and offer quality services.

“Some authorities took advantage of the ignorance of people. But the program has enlightened people who are now able to identify the wrongdoing in their communities,” he said.

Kaunda said the problem that the district had was that people could not voice out their concerns when they see that things are not going on well.

He further said the development will empower people to actively take part in development activities.

He said apart from deepening the voice of the voiceless, NICE enlightened communities in the district with various issues such as; the abduction and killing of Albinos, good governance, transparency and accountability.

Chairperson for DAF Jenifer Maida said the district is moving forward on various issues because of the role that NICE is playing in the district.

She said the committee will continue providing necessary support to NICE so that the welfare of people in the district improves.

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