Kalomo District Administrative Officer, Justus Phiri, has observed that many District Disaster Management and Mitigation Committees (DDMMCs) are underplaying their roles and concentrating on problem identification and meetings instead of actually being in the field to factually assess situations that affect the communities.
Speaking at a DMMC meeting in Kalomo over the weekend, Mr Phiri noted that committee members should actually visit areas of necessity where communities are affected as opposed to merely receiving reports, saying some of the reported disasters could be falsified.
Mr Phiri was responding to some reported cases of looming hunger situation in some parts of the district but a check by the agriculture department found that the crop yields in some of those parts of were enough for household food security.
However, some parts in the lower Zambezi valley of Kalomo and Zimba districts in chief Simwatachela’s area in Chikoyo Agricultural block had a record of between 75 and 95 per cent crop failure due to climatic variances in the last farming season and are in dire need of relief food, local agricultural experts has declared.
And the committee has complained over the tendency by farmers in the district of selling almost the entire crop yields without leaving enough for consumption, adding that there was need for the committee to intensify food security at household level to reverse the trend as this would accelerate the ‘food relief dependency syndrome’ among communities.
“It is like in the case of the Fertiliser Input Support Programme (FISP). If we were serious, we should have seen farmers graduating from it but because we are doing it in bad faith, the same farmers are still getting the inputs . In future we want to see some farmers being weaned out of the programme because they should be self-reliant by now since the programme started in 2002,” Mr Phiri observed.
The administrative officer, who is the chairperson of the committee, called for urgent mechanisms of ensuring that communities learn to safeguard their yields and take responsibility of their respective household food security as most of the maize is currently landing in the hands of briefcase buyers that have opened up depots in the district, buying a kilogramme of the crop at between KR0.900 and KR1.00.
The Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit under the Office of the Vice President has sent a Vulnerability Assessment Committee (VAC) to conduct an in-depth finding of areas of need country-wide.