Agriculture Minister Lobin Lowe has commended humanitarian based organization World Vision Malawi for implementing programs that are promoting food security at both household and community levels across the country through irrigation farming schemes involving smallholder farmers.
Lowe made the remarks on Thursday in Lilongwe during an interface meeting between World Vision Malawi and Members of the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources that aimed at briefing the Legislatures about some of the organization’s programs that are promoting food security and natural resources management across the country.
The Minister said he was impressed with the smallholder farmers irrigation schemes which the organization is operating in some of the districts across the country which have significantly improved food sustainability at household level in the areas where such initiatives are being implemented.
“Despite not physically visiting the irrigation schemes which World Vision is implementing across the country, but I’m totally impressed with their programs and projects because so far they are contributing significantly to the country’s food security levels through winter cropping irrigation farming,” said Lowe.
According to Lowe, his ministry is encouraging different humanitarian based organizations in the country such as World Vision and others to invest in solar based irrigation farming initiatives as that is cheaper and sustainable comparing to electricity and fuel-machine propelled irrigation farming methods.
The Minister said government is ready to provide a waiver on the importation of all solar irrigation equipment to individuals and organizations that are willing to invest in solar based irrigation farming as that is the only sustainable method that can promote food security in the country apart from the rain-fed based agricultural production.
“I would like to encourage organizations like World Vision Malawi to engage government through my Ministry because we are ready to discuss with the Malawi Revenue Authority to give you a waiver on solar irrigation equipment so that you can invest in the irrigation system of that kind and improve food availability in our country,” he said.
In his remarks Director of Programs for World Vision Malawi Charles Chimombo said his organization decided to organise the interface meeting with the Legislatures so that they should have a hint on what his organization is doing across the country in as far as promoting food security and natural resources management at both household and community level is concerned.
According to Chimombo, World Vision Malawi which has been operating in the country for the last 39 years has so far constructed about 46 irrigation schemes covering over 1,400 hectares of land where over 11,000 smallholder farmers are benefiting through cultivation of various cereals and legumes.
Chimombo further explained that since 2015 his organization through the Increasing Food Production Project has helped over 4.5 million smallholder farmers which also in the process managed to assist about 800,000 children through various forms of support among them being food availability at household level.
“We are implementing various programs across the country such as the natural resources management initiative as well as the economic value chain systems where smallholder farmers are trained and encouraged to implement farming as business so that they can be realizing profits and become economically secure,” said Chimombo.
According to Chimombo, World Vision is encouraging local smallholder farmers to do crop diversification in the irrigation schemes as one way of averting hunger and also at the same time avoid depending on rain-fed kind of agriculture system.
He however urged government to invest much into cheaper and sustainable irrigation mechanisms as one way of making the subsidy Agriculture Input Program (AIP) become sustainable in many years to come for the country.
Both Sameer Suleiman and Welani Chilenga who are Chairpersons of the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committees respectively, commended World Vision Malawi for organizing the interface meeting which they said was an eye opener.
However, both Parliamentarians urged the organization to organise a field tour to the districts where the programs are being implemented in order to physically appreciateFollow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :