By Lusekero Mhango
Communities in Karonga District have been urged to embrace crop diversification as one way of countering against effects of climate change that are being experienced in the district.
The call follows the Department for Climate Change and Meteorological Services (DCCMS) dissemination of the downscale seasonal rainfall focus for Karonga predicted that parts of the district will experience dry spells in January and February as well as heavy rains in the month of March/April.
In an interview following the dissemination of the downscale seasonal rainfall focus for Karonga for 2022/2023, Kenedy Longwe, an Agriculture Extension Development Officer for Nyungwe, said crop diversification improves the resilience of farming systems to climate change shocks like dry spells, hence urged farmers to adopt diversification.
He added that when crop diversification is fully utilized it can contribute significantly to household food security.
“Rainfall is becoming more erratic especially during the onset of the rainy season due to climate change and crop diversification can help to mitigate some of the challenge of inadequate food that sometimes communities face in the district,” he said.
Longwe has therefore advised farmers to plant drought-tolerant crops like sweet potatoes and cassava and as well as embracing practicing soil and water conservation.
In a separate interview Paolos Mughogho senior meteorologist at DCCMS, said the seasonal rain focus dissemination is significant as it accords farmers time to plan and make decisions ahead of the planting season.
“Karonga is prone to disasters and flooding hence this dissemination is significant for the district as plans can be put in place at the council level and as well as sensitizing the communities on what is to come to prepare them,” he explained.
Meanwhile, Relief and Rehabilitation Officer for Karonga District Council Shepard Jeri, disclosed that the council is in the process of identifying a warehouse that will house relief items in readiness for the onset of the rainy season saying plans have reached an advanced stage which are waiting the approval of the Department of Disaster Management Affairs.