ILLOVO MALAWI has invested K25 million to grow maize at Dwangwa Estate for vulnerable communities in response to food shortages in the country. The Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, Hon Dr Allan Chiyembekeza, toured the maize field on 9 October and commended Illovo for the initiative, which he said will go a long way in assisting people facing food shortages in the country.
“This is an impressive example of irrigation agriculture that all in the country ought to be doing. It is possible; it can be done,’’ he said. The Minister further urged community leaders to sensitise people on why Illovo ventures into the maize production as one way of dealing with the problem of theft of the maize. ‘’The onus is on us that our people know why the maize is there. People need to know that Illovo is growing the maize for them,” he said.
Dwangwa GM Lal Bachan said the maize will benefit vulnerable members of the community in all the six Traditional Authorities in the district and some will also be donated to Nkhotakota District Hospital. “Emphasis will be on the ultra-poor, the elderly, physically challenged and child-headed families. The selection of beneficiaries will be done in liaison with the District Commissioner’s office as we are aware that they have well-established structures to manage this,’’ he said.
Illovo is expecting to harvest 180 tons of maize which has been grown on 37.7 hectares.
“As the maize has already ripened, it is prone to theft by unscrupulous people. With the amount of money we have put into this, we would like it to be safeguarded in order for it to reach out to the intended recipients,’’ said Mr Bachan.
Speaking earlier, Member of Parliament for the area Hon Frank Mphande said he was aware that the maize growing initiative has been going on for some years. He asked Illovo to continue with the exercise and pledged to assist with the insecurity problem.
Also speaking at the function, Nkhotakota District Council Chairman Samson Kaziputa thanked Illovo for helping Nkhotakota district in food security and also for the various social responsibility projects the company carries out. He said as a council they are ready to work with Illovo and assist in resolving any problem that may arise.
MALAWI’S Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, Hon Dr Allan Chiyembekeza (right), with Dwangwa GM Lal Bachan on his tour of the maize field.