The United States African Development Foundation (Usadaf) has set up a fund to help cushion rice farmers from possible effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Usadaf has created the fund through the Capital for African Resilience Building and Enterprise Support (Cares) programme.
The organisation donated $10,000 (about K7.2 million) to the Lower Shire Rice Marketing Cooperative.
Lower Shire Rice Cooperative which is a secondary cooperative with five primary cooperatives namely Muona, Mbwazi and Masenjere in Nsanje and Nkhate and Mkombedzi in Chikwawa has since used the fund in buying items to be used in the fight against the pandemic such as buckets, soap and masks among others.
The items were distributed to the farmers on Tuesday.
Lower Shire Rice Cooperative Board Chairperson, Fran Sabe, said the group used part of the fund to buy bicycles and cell phones which were given to volunteers from the five primary cooperatives.
“We are thankful to Usadaf for the support which is timely,” he said.
He said the items will benefit 600 farmers.
Hussein Steven Mdala from Umodzi Consulting, which works hand in hand with Usadaf to reach out to farmers in the country, said Usadaf has over 16 projects in the country.
“It is time for farmers to go out there and fight Covid-19 pandemic while going about farming. They need to be healthy for them to be productive but with the pandemic, there was a threat in that they would channel the grant for their farming activities to the fight against the pandemic,” Mdala said.
One of the corporative members, Marita Kashati, hailed Usadaf for the donation.
Lower Shire Rice Marketing Cooperative was established in 2018 with an aim of sourcing rice markets for farmers.