CHIEF Sikufele of Kabompo district in North-Western Province has appealed to Government to send relief food to his area to mitigate the hunger situation.
The traditional leader yesterday told the Daily Nation that there was need for Government to urgently send relief food to the area as most families did not have food following a poor harvest last year.
He said the situation had worsened following a patchy 2015/2016 rainfall pattern which has left most farmers without anything to harvest as the crops that were planted at the onset of the season dried up.
He said despite his earlier appeal for relief food, towards the end of last year, his chiefdom was yet to receive assistance from the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU) but said he remained optimistic that Government would do something to arrest the situation.
“I have not received any relief food but people in my area are starving and so my humble appeal to Governmnet is that it should send some food to my people for them to eat. If the rainfall patterns were good this year, I am sure that by now the situation would have changed but due to persistent drought, hunger is still ravaging my area, hence there is need for Government assistance,” Chief Sikufele said.
He explained that even in areas which had adequate rains, most people would not produce enough crops due to lack of fertiliser as each farmer only received two bags under the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) which were not adequate to meet the farmers’ demand. Many farmers could not afford to buy the commodity on their own.
He said the general crop harvest in his chiefdom was likely to be worse than last year, adding that the state of affairs meant nearly all his subjects would need food supplements at some point.
“From the beginning, the rains started very late. Those people who planted early had their crops destroyed. As a result, they did not harvest anything from what they planted. A few of the farmers who received adequate rains again had a challenge of fertiliser because we were only given two bags of the commodity which could not even cover a hectare of maize.
‘‘Generally speaking, I think our output this year will be worse than what we harvested last year and this means there will be more hunger in the chiefdom as all the subjects will need Governmnet assistance because the maize we have produced may not see us through to the next farming season,” he said.