Agriculture minister Allan Chiyembekeza has pat on the back prisoners for a working irrigation scheme at Domasi in Zomba that is enabling the prison department to provide 60 percent of food to inmates across the country.
Commissoner for farms and industry in prisons Clement Kainja said with huge budget cuts, government grants are not enough to feed 14000 inmates in the country’s jails.
Chiyembekeza said he was impressed with the activities on the irrigation scheme.
He said the country can feed itself throughout the year if people adopted irrigation farming in the country.
Kainja’s words were echoed in Mzuzu when a charity provided food to Mzuzu prison.
An official at the prison Hellings Nyalumbwe told officials from Rotary Club that the food they had donated would be used to provide three meals a day to women and children in the prison.
He said men will continue getting a meal a day until the food situation improves.
Meanwhile, Chiyembekeza has called upon communities around Domasi Irrigation Scheme in Zomba district to take full responsibility of the facility by avoiding cutting down of trees unnecessarily around the area for them to benefit more from the facility.
The Minister also challenged the farmers to make use of the skills they acquired in as far as the management of the scheme is concerned.
“As I have seen myself, the communities around the irrigation scheme under Domasi Water Users Association are able to cultivate more rice for export. Let me encourage you to use the skills acquired and make the scheme more vibrant,” advised the minister.
On Domasi Water Users Association plea to take full responsibility of the irrigation scheme, the minister said soon government will handle over the facility to the community.
“But let me emphasize here that we have seen from other projects that once are handed over to the community to own them, continuity becomes an issue. They die naturally or they are not fully put in use. When we handle over this facility make sure that you will sustain it,” he said.
The Domasi Water Users Association’s President Anderson Chapita was grateful to the government and the minister for imparting skills to them as regards modern farming technologies which he said have also helped to improve their rice production.
“Things are not the same as far as food and income security are concerned. For your information, currently we are exporting rice to all parts of this country.
“Let me assure the government and all other stakeholders that when they will handle over this facility to us, expect us to achieve more,” he said.
Domasi Irrigation Scheme, which is located in senior Group Village Headman Mpheta,T/A Mposa, was constructed in 1971 by the Malawi government and Taiwan.
The gross area for the scheme is 500 hectares and it is comprises 11 irrigation blocks covering a net area of 470 hectares.
The scheme has 26 beneficiary villages with a total farm-family population of 2057 (1085 males and 972 females).Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :