MALAWI – Illovo Sugar Malawi Plc, a subsidiary of Associated British Foods plc has donated 103 hectares to Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (Luanar) for large-scale cultivation of maize under irrigation at Dwangwa Estate.
The initiative, expected to produce 700 metric tonnes by October is aimed at complementing government efforts to address food insecurity that has hit the country as a result of Tropical Cyclone Freddy.
Speaking in an interview with The Nation Malawi, the project’s team leader Thomas Ruben Nyanda, who is also a senior lecturer at Luanar, said the irrigation project will help them to reach out to people who were affected by the cyclone and are currently food insecure.
Nyanda revealed that maize was planted in July as one of Illovo’s corporate social responsibility activities, which Illovo is implementing through its Dwangwa Estate, adding that over 120 people have been employed through the K300 million (US415M) project.
The CSR activities are in response to concerns over how the government would respond to the food requirements of 4.4 million people at risk of hunger after the country was hit by Cyclone Freddy in March this year.
The government had also reported that the National Food Reserve Agency indicated recently that it will stock about 100 000MT against a demand of 219 023MT required for the hunger response.
“We expect to get close to 618 000MT to 721 000MT, which is an estimated six to seven tonnes per hectare. Beyond the response to Cyclone Freddy, the government aims to minimize poverty and ensure food security,” said Nyanda.
McLean Dembwe, Illovo Sugar Dwangwa Estates general manager said that the company has provided land that was under sugarcane production, but forewent the opportunity of producing 11 000MT of sugarcane which is worth K800 million to respond to a good cause.
“A community cannot thrive without food, so it was natural for us to respond positively when approached by Luanar in this project,” Dembwe said.
As part of its corporate social responsibility (CSR), projects, Illovo Sugar Malawi Plc has so far invested K635.4 million (US$31M) in development projects the company carried out for communities around Dwangwa Estate in Nkhotakota.
According to Dembwe, Illovo Sugar Malawi (Plc) Dwangwa Estate CSR activities focused on five key areas: education, potable water, food security, health, and afforestation.
“By addressing these areas, the company aims to contribute to the overall development and well-being of the communities surrounding its operations,” he added.