People in Shire Valley have been urged to replace maize with crops that are resistant to natural disaster in a bid to curb challenges that they are facing due to natural disaster.
Nsanje and Chikwawa are some of the districts in the country that are prone to Natural disaster like floods and they were hit hard by the Cyclone Ana and Gombe earlier this, a development that have put the residents in great agony as their crops and livestock were washed away.
Speaking in Nsanje, Deputy Director for the Department of Nutrition and HIV/AIDS Blessings Muwalo said as a move to reduce these unpredictable and unforeseeable challenges, crops like Banana and Cassava that are resistant to Natural disaster could be an easy option.
In Nsanje, Hunger project that is being funded by the Germany Bank KFw is being implemented but its goal has failed to be achieved due to Cyclone Ana and Gombe.
Muwalo said, “The survey that was conducted by LUANAR in the months of October and November last year revealed that Children of Under 2, minimum of meal frequency is between 46 to 62 per cent with little minimum dietary and acceptance diet not more than 7 per cent. This emanating from the disaster which compelled us to ask farmers to think of planting banana and cassava to replace maize.”
Hunger project Nutrition specialist, Grace Takomana said the project has been beneficial to some families in the district.
She said, “We visited Malindi Village, Traditional Authority Ngabu in Nsanje where we noted some positive impacts of the project. People has knowledge on six food groups and we believe that they can easily use that knowledge to diversify their diets.”
Zalakoma believed that by the end of five years of the project, Nsanje District will register positive feedbacks in terms of Nutrition.
One of the beneficiaries of the project, Ireen Mtenda, from Malindi village in the area of Traditional Authority (TA) Ngabu in the district thanked Hunger Project saying it helped her to have a toilet and stop open defecation.
Mtenda said just like other beneficiaries in her area, besides having the toilets she is also glad to have backyard garden which gives her vegetables for both consumption and economic gains.
Nsanje District council, Principal Nutrition and HIV /Aids Officer, Nozza Chingola Mpesi thanked Hunger Project for reducing stunting growth from 31.5 percent in 2019 to 30.7 this year according to a survey conducted by Luanar.
“We are confident that we will go down below 30 percent soon,” said Mpesi
The Hunger Project is implementing a five years project from 2019 to 2023 in Nsanje and Phalombe districts dubbed “Scaling Up Nutrition” with funding from the Germany bank Kfw.