MPs ask government to bail out farmers affected by army worms

BLANTYRE-(MaraviPost)— Despite the good rains experienced this farming season, Members of Parliament (MPs) on Tuesday, lamented that some of the areas in their constituencies have harvested little, and some none, due to the outbreak of army worms, which affected some parts of the country.

Commenting on the State of the Nation Address (Sona) delivered by President Mutharika at the opening of the Sixth Meeting in the 46th Session of Parliament and the 2017/18 Budget Meeting in Lilongwe on Friday, Ntcheu South lawmaker Chimalira asked the government to help his constituents with food relief.

“Madam deputy speaker, though this year Malawi has registered bumper yields, some areas in my constituency have harvested little and some none due to the outbreak of army worms, which terrorized many farms in different parts of the country.

“The areas affected include Manjawira, Tsikulamowa, Senzani and partly Ntonda,” said Chimalira who is also the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) member.

“I, therefore, request the government to assist the victims with free food,” said Chimalira.

Some legislators who spoke after him, mainly those from the central region, also echoed the same sentiments, making it clear that army worms caused damage the small crop yield this year.

However, pandemonium rocked the parliament, when independent member of parliament for Ntchisi North, Boniface Kadzamira, had the floor. Kadzamira mocked the State of the Nation Address (SONA), delivered by President Mutharika.

Boniface Kadzamira: Mutharika’s address only “brilliant” state of the manifesto for his party.

In his response to the SONA, Kadzamira said Mutharika’s address did not inspire hope among the citizenry, but only “brilliant” state of the manifesto for his party.

“I wish to commend the President for delivering a brilliant SOMA. I’m saying SOMA, which means state of the manifesto address, whose aim is to bring excitement among party supporters,” said Kadzamira.

But deputy government chief whip Grace Chiumia, standing on a point of order, protested the legislator’s remarks, arguing it was out of order to describe the President’s address as ‘SOMA’ when it is SONA.

In a statement that lasted approximately an hour and 20 minutes of patting his government on the back, Mutharika hyped the positive economic outlook buoyed by lowering maize prices, and inflation, expressing his determination that the economy would grow.

“Let those who see emptiness in everything, keep their empty rhetoric, while you and I agree that we are making progress. But let those who listen, listen. Even the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, agree that we are on the right path. Malawians, who are proud of this country have every reason to be optimistic,” President Mutharika said in the SONA.

Themed ‘Harnessing Economic Gains for Sustainable Socio-Economic Development’, Mutharika focused on strategic achievements the government has made, as well as plans for the year.

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