Malawi News Agency (Lilongwe)

Malawi: Government Distributes Seeds to Religious, Party and Business Women

Lilongwe — Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Welfare through the Presidential Initiative on Poverty Alleviation and Hunger, Wednesday distributed seeds to religious, political party and business women through their leaders.

Approximately 200 tonnes of Soya, Beans, Groundnuts and Peas have been distributed at a function held in Lilongwe where leaders from various sectors as stated above represented women across the country.

Addressing the audience at the presentation ceremony, Minister of Gender, Children and Social Welfare Mary Makungwa said the initiative was established to empower women to move from poverty to prosperity.

"President Dr. Joyce Banda came up with this poverty alleviation idea with the aim of empowering women economically. Women play a major role in our households and once we develop a woman it means the whole nation will be developed," she said.

She added that the President had called for an emergency meeting to congratulate the ministry for managing to bring different political and church leaders together.

"I must admit that we were not sure that this function would be possible considering our political and religious differences. However, when the president heard that we had managed to bring us together, she called me to express her gratitude," Makungwa said.

She kept emphasizing that the initiative was not political but rather a national initiative to benefit every woman in Malawi.

"Government will do whatever is necessary to empower women to achieve their goals and fulfill their wishes," she said.

In her remarks, Secretary to Gender, Children and Social Welfare, Dr. Mary Shawa, said hunger is still a problem in the country and one way of curbing it was to use women since they were directly involved in agriculture.

"We decided to give out these seeds so that they would help in cultivating high yields. Most women work hard in the fields but the problem is money to buy farm inputs. As you may see, the seeds we are giving out today do not require fertilizer, they are simple to grow," she said.

She stressed that the seeds were also for commercial products that would help to solve monetary problems after selling.

"Agricultural products like Soya are used in so many ways. They can be processed into milk, Meat balls and sausages," Shawa said.

Political party beneficiaries included AFORD, DPP, MCP, Mafunde, PP and UDF and each party went away with 400 bags of assorted seeds.

Religious groups included Quadria Muslim Association, Muslim Association of Malawi, Evangelical Association of Malawi, St. Francis, Episcopal Conference of Malawi, Seventh Day Adventist, Anglican Church, Malawi Council of Churches and Public Affairs Committee, and they got varied tonnage of seeds.

Other beneficiaries were business women (also known as a Mai a Mwai) and women from the Public Affairs Committee (PAC).

On behalf of the beneficiaries, Malawi Congress Party's Director for Women Affairs, Jean Sendeza thanked Government for the initiative, saying it was high time women farmers were given a priority.

"This is a very welcome development, especially seeing women from different political parties, religious groups and the rest others gather for a common purpose. We must unite and learn from one another if we are to develop as a nation," she said.

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