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MBABANE – Thousands of starving Swazis have been told to go back to the fields if they want to fill up their stomachs as the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) will stop food distributions.

The distribution of food parcels and money transfer to beneficiaries affected by the drought, through the NDMA, will come to an end in seven months’ time.

The agency has confirmed that it will not have any resources for this exercise, come April next year.
The sad news, which might come as a shock to many beneficiaries, was revealed by NDMA Technical Manager Victor Mahlalela yesterday at Sibane Hotel, during a breakfast meeting with the media.

Mahlalela said they had Tinkhundla Regional Coordinators stationed in all regions, who would take up the responsibility of ensuring that all disaster management activities are undertaken at regional level.

He said it was the officials’ responsibility to make sure that they attend all forums and Tinkhundla meetings to ensure they disseminate the message that by mid next year, beneficiaries would not receive food assistance.

Mahlalela added that the officers have to encourage people to go to the fields and grow their own food. Those who cannot afford to buy farm inputs will be assisted. The farm inputs to be given to individuals will include those for crops such as sorghum, beans and maize, Mahlalela to name a few.

Mahlalela noted that giving farm input was one easy thing but making sure that the households utilised the inputs was another issue altogether.
Mahlalela said the NDMA was working with its partners to take advantage of the coming planting season to make sure that every household had access to farm inputs so they could produce their own food.

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