11 January 2019

Malawi: Met Assess Impact of Heavy Rains On Maize Production

Blantyre — Good agricultural practices such as box-ridging; mulching and construction of contour bunds assist in controlling soil erosion, especially in an event of heavy downpours as experienced recently countrywide.

Chief Meteorologist responsible for Communications in the Department of Climate Change & Meteorological Services (DCCMS), Amos Ntonya made the observation on Thursday in an interview with Malawi News Agency (Mana) in Blantyre.

"Generally, the rainfall pattern across the country has been normal and above normal... rainfall amounts and such desirable rain distribution has greatly contributed to robust, vigorous and healthy-looking crops such as maize in most fields.

"Additionally, we haven't had serious false onset of rains that result into worrisome dry spells among farmers. However, farmers are urged to follow all recommended agricultural practices such as box-ridging to control excess run-off and gullies so that substantial amounts of moisture is retained in the soil," he added.

Ntonya advised farmers to fully utilize the availability of fodder to maximize hay processing for sustainable animal feeds throughout the year and depart from the ancient 'cut and carry technique' of sourcing animal feeds.

He said unlike the reliable and sustainable intensive hay processing; the old practice is tedious on the part of the farmer, hence the need to abandon it completely.

Ntonya urged farmers to embrace hay processing as they seize the opportunity of the initiative during rainfall season like this period when fodder and green vegetation is all over.

"They must do it; as the old adage goes: 'make hay while it shines' and whilst all the necessary vegetation and varied species of grass are readily available as the heavy downpour continues to moist the fields," he advised.

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