Kang’oma Village, Mulanje District – George Kachingwe in his maize field. In preparation for severe food deficits, and to delay the onset of the hunger gap, an emergency programme of winter cropping was undertaken in areas suitable for this type of cultivation (i.e. wetlands). Combined packages of maize and bean seed were distributed; as were watering cans to help with irrigation.

George explains: -‘We received the maize seeds at the end of June. In order to be able to get the seeds you had to have a dimba [wetlands garden]. We got one kilo of maize seeds which should give us about 150 kilos of maize -enough to last a month or so – maybe a bit longer. ]. We’re hoping this maize will be ready by the end of October.

‘I’ve got a large family – almost enough for a football team – so it will only last us a month. There are ten of us in the family, plus two grandchildren we’re looking after for a few months. We also got some bean seeds to plant with the maize, but they didn’t grow too well. The maize seeds will benefit us a little and will help out in the short-term.’