Over 300 hundred farmers in the area of traditional Authority Kachindamoto in Dedza district are all smiles as they have started enjoying the benefits from irrigation schemes that were constructed by Farmers union of Malawi (FUM) with funding from Agriculture Transformation Initiative (ATI).
Under ‘Rebuilding Smallholder farmers Livelihoods through agriculture recovery project’ ATI provided 250 000 US Dollars funding that FUM used to construct Dzalanyama Solar powered Irrigation Scheme under Ntakataka Extension Planning Area (EPA) and rehabilitated Mgundu Irrigation scheme under Golomoti EPA to empower local people in terms of food production.
The project was necessitated by the heavy rains and flooding linked to Cyclone Idai that displaced households in many districts including Dedza last year. The development also necessitated the need for recovery efforts that support households to rebuild their livelihoods and food security through multiple means.
Speaking during the official handover of the two irrigation schemes recently in Dedza, Agriculture Transformation Initiative Country Director Dr. Candida Nakhumwa said Development of farmers’ resilience constitutes one of the initiatives that they are supporting through various implementing partners in a quest to contribute towards agriculture transformation.
Nakhumwa said the rehabilitation of the two irrigation schemes aligns with ATI’s mission to prepare for future of reduced tobacco demand which has the potential to affect the economy of the country if early Crop diversification cannot be taken seriously now.
“The reduction of demand for tobacco will greatly affect the livelihoods of many tobacco farmers and indeed the economy. Therefore, as a country there is an urgent need for us to prioritize diversification of our food and export base and it is something that needs collective efforts.
“We are also aware that Malawi continues to suffer from climatic and other shocks. I am assured that these irrigation schemes will help farmers deal with some of these challenges. Close to 500 farmers around these schemes will now be able to produce more than one crop per year, therefore improve their livelihood food security and income,” she said
Farmers Union of Malawi president Frighton Njolomole said he was impressed with how smallholder farmers are progressing saying they are playing a pivotal role in reduction of food insecurity, poverty, as well as contributing towards economic empowerment of their communities.
Njolomole said the schemes are a mitigating measure, especially against droughts and the mid-season dry spells where crops severely suffer from moisture stress.
He also challenged the people of the area to provide security to all the equipment installed at the two schemes if they still want to transform their families with irrigation farming benefits.
One of the beneficialies Piere Katola, who is also Chairperson for Mgundu Irrigation Scheme raised hopes that the scheme would transform farmer’s lives in his area as it is likely to increase their production of legumes and cereals.
“We have been struggling for many years to be food secure because we have always depended on rain-fed agriculture without substantive irrigation, However, these schemes have changed our stories and we are able to feed our families .I have also managed to buy a motorcycle this year, something that I was failing in the past,” he said
The adoption of irrigation schemes is an essential policy to eradicate poverty and improve food security for many governments across Africa and such policy options greatly impacts on the livelihoods of rural communities where agriculture is the bed lock of their lives.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :