MAKE USE OF PERENNIAL RIVERS TO COMBAT HUNGER AND POVERTY
Written by Innocent Nazombe on December 20, 2023
By Patricia Kayuni
“Government is investing heavily in irrigation schemes in order to achieve food and economic security both at household and national level” – Writes Patricia Kayuni.
Minister of Agriculture, Sam Kawale has urged farmers in the country to make use or perennial rivers for irrigation in order to achieve food security and end poverty.
Kawale was speaking yesterday in Chisenga, Chitipa District where he toured the MK 1 billion, 131 Hectares Mafinga Irrigation Scheme which was constructed through the Programme for Rural Irrigation Development – PRIDE with financial support from International fund for Agricultural Development – IFAD.
During the tour, which took him to the maize fields, Kawale said government is investing heavily in irrigation schemes so that people have enough food throughout the year and that’s why schemes are being constructed across the country. Kawale went on to say that if farmers made use of the rivers, Malawi would have been able to produce enough food to sustain herself.
On his part, Senior Chief MweneWenya of the area commended government for constructing the scheme in his area. He said the scheme will alleviate challenges which people in the area were facing; including hunger and poverty through consumption and selling their farm produce.
On the part of the scheme management and sustainability, MweneWenya said they are planting exotic trees around the scheme as well as reserving indigenous trees around the scheme’s intake so that it doesn’t dry out.
Meanwhile, President for the Chisenga Water Users Association, Matias Kanyika said that previously local farmers had water challenges where the water available could not measure up to the number of farmers but this ended as soon as the scheme was constructed. He promised that the scheme will continue running even after the phasing out of the programme.
Mafinga Irrigation Scheme, which covers 131 hectares, accommodates 437 farmers; 247 females and 190 males who are cultivating Irish potatoes and beans for sale and maize for consumption.