Nkhata Bay Prison says the prolonged dry spells will negatively affect maize production at their joint farm with Nkhata Bay District Hospital this year.
The prison’s spokesperson, McDonald Migolo said in an interview Monday that close to three weeks had passed since the district received meaningful rains.
Last year, they managed to produce 300 50-kilogram bags and, this year, Migolo is pessimistic that the two institutions will not be able to meet their target.
“We always wanted to increase our maize production this year but the reality on the ground is that the weather has not been good as we have experienced a prolonged dry spell,” he said.
“We, however, still keep our fingers crossed that, perhaps, the rains might come in the nearest time and salvage the situation because, already, we are lucky that our maize farm has not been affected by the countrywide outbreak of Fall Armyworms,” he said.
Nkhata Bay Prison agreed with the District Health Office (DHO) to jointly cultivate maize and share yield equally to feed inmates and patients at the hospital, respectively.
The prison provides labour while the DHO contributes seeds, fertilizers and pesticides, among other inputs.
“Last year we got 150 bags of maize which helped us feed our inmates for some months without necessarily asking government for help. We strongly feel that a lot of millions [of kwacha] were saved from that venture,” he said.