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Food wastage during ceremonies worries Ntchisi chiefs

Ntchisi, July 29, Mana: Some chiefs in Ntchisi District have bemoaned food wastage among communities, especially during ceremonies such as tombstone unveiling, weddings as well as funerals.

Speaking during a food systems dialogue meeting for the district on Tuesday, Senior Chief Nthondo said there is a tendency among communities in the district to prepare and serve more than enough food compared to the number of people who are supposed to partake it. 

According to the chief, this is one of the reasons why most households run out of food earlier despite harvesting enough to take them through to the next harvesting season.   

“There is need to sensitize people about mindset change on food management. We are exploring on having by-laws aimed at preventing food wastage in the areas,” said Nthondo.

He also condemned some cultural beliefs which encourage men to be given the best food available at the expense of women and children. 

“For instance, most people believe that there are some chicken parts which are meant to be served to men only,” said Senior Chief Nthondo.   

Concurring with Nthondo, Chief Chilooko said the wastage of food during such ceremonies is indeed worrisome and needs to be addressed. 

Chilooko further said some people are also fond of selling the best they have produced and consume the rest, citing fruits as an example that are sold and rarely get consumed in the households.      

Commenting on the issue, Chief Agriculture, Environment and Natural Resource Officer for Ntchisi, Siliro Nkhukuzalira Magomero, said there is a training component implemented by his office in which farmers are trained on food budgeting and utilisation.          

“We always train them to budget according to the number of people per household, but most of the times the challenge comes when there are ceremonies, as there is no proper planning because the organizers are not sure of how many people would attend, so, they end up preparing a lot of food,” said Magomero. 

He further explained that his office promotes food diversification, encouraging people to be eating potatoes, cassava and not relying on nsima alone as their staple food.   

On his part, Ntchisi District Commissioner, Lusizi Nhlane, described the dialogue as a great opportunity for the district to bring together different stakeholders, including voices of rural communities.

The food systems dialogue meeting was held in preparation for the United Nations Global Food Systems Summit to be held in September 2021 in New York, United States of America, according to Deputy Director of Planning in the Ministry of Agriculture, Readwell Musopole.

“Globally, there is realisation that there is need to improve food systems to achieve sustainable development goals.

“We have conducted these dialogue meetings in various districts and the common issues raised include the need for good roads and markets to improve the food systems,” said Musopole. 

Minister of Agriculture, Lobin Lowe, launched the National Food Systems Dialogue on May 19, this year in Lilongwe.     

Mana

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