Deputy Program Manager for Blantyre ADD Geoffrey Maloni says since 2018, 756 hectares have so far been planted with disease free banana beating an expected 634 hectare target by 2023 under Agriculture Sector Wide Approach (ASWAP SP 11) project.
“With this progress, we are hopeful that by the end of ASWAP SP` 11 project in June next year, we might reach 900 even 1000 hectares and we have intensified awareness meetings with farmers to make them understand this initiative,” said Maloni.
He said among the three districts of Mulanje, Thyolo and Phalombe where government is implementing ASWAP 11 project in Blantyre ADD, only Mulanje is lagging behind in banana rstoration.
Director of Agriculture, Environment and Natural Resources at Mulanje District Council Yaz Nyirenda told Zodiak Online that some farmers are reluctant to uproot affected banana plants as they fear for economic loss in a period between uprooting and start reaping from the new planted bananas.
“We will continue addressing this fear through various gatherings using different initiatives until all the old bananas are removed and disease free suckers are planted,” said Nyirenda.
And Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture responsible for technical services Medrina Muloza Banda who visited some ASWAP projects in Mulanje district on Thursday said she was impressed to see many farmers mostly women embracing ASWAP 11 activities.
Apart from banana restoration, ASWAP 11 project has also irrigation, livestock and roads maintenance components.
The project is expected to end in June, 2023.