Catholic Development Commission (CADECOM) of the Archdiocese of Lilongwe provided relief red sweet potato cuttings (seed) to farmers in around Traditional Authority Chakhaza in Dowa district mid-January, 2022.
According to the Commission’s coordinator Charles Matewere apart from their routine exercise during the period, they responded to a call made by Tama Farmers Trust to assist victims of the dry spell that befell the farmers of Gome Producers and Marketing Cooperative Society.
“We were approached by officials from Tama Farmers Trust after they learnt that we are working in the same area where their victimized members are. We looked at the impact, analyzed it and upon being convinced we asked them to choose between potato seed cuttings and cassava. They opted for potato and hence we brought them 200 bunches of the cuttings enough to plant 5 acres,” said Matewere.
Matewere also acknowledged the Australian Aid through Caritas Australia in the A+ project for their continued support to the activities of the local Church.
A CADECOM field officer Maclay Mtekateka advised the recipients to ensure targeting multiplying the seed before they venture into serious potato farming.
“We urge you to first allow those that were affected to plant the potato in their bare fields and then use the same fields as reserves for next cropping season. At that time, be able to get more cuttings for the rest of the members. In so doing, this area will become a potato zone,” Mtekateka told the recipients.
Chairperson for the cooperative, Tsogolani Kenani thanked both Cadecom and Tama Farmers Trust for coming quickly to their predicament.
“It was so devastating to see our fields most of which belong to women, being bare despite having planted legumes such as beans, soya and groundnuts. We created a video and sent it to Tama to appreciate our problems. Good enough we started linking when they asked us to choose between cassava and potato. We chose potato for it is easy to manage within other farming activities. We are thankful to Tama and Cadecom. We will make sure potato farming becomes our business a long side our usual crops,” said Kenani.
According to Kenani 2021 rain season started on 17 December, 2021 in the area of Traditional Authority Chakhaza in Dowa District.
“Most farmers here planted their crops with hope. Unfortunately, there was no follow up rains until 31st December, 2021. The dry spell was so upsetting to the effect that a total of 10 acres of soya, 5 acres of beans, and 7 acres of groundnuts were affected leaving members with no hope,” Kenani said.
Head of Operations at Tama Farmers Trust, Samuel Kasambala said that his organization was concerned with the situation that Gome Cooperative members found themselves in. He said this made Tama Farmers Trust to appeal for resources that would necessitate the replanting of any drought resistant crop. He thanked CADECOM for the gesture and further requested for continued working relationship.