Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development Kondwani Nankhumwa says good agriculture practices and smart technologies are a prerequisite for this country’s economic growth.
He made the remarks on Monday, December 30, 2019 when he presided over the official handover ceremony of a Solar-powered Irrigation and Milling Plant at Mikolongwe Veterinary Station, Mikolongwe Farm in Chiradzulu District. The machine was donated by Hebei Pingle Flour Manufacturing Company from the People’s Republic of China.
The minister said he was excited to commission the irrigation and milling plant because it will help in the alleviation of some of the teething food challenges for the people of Chiradzulu. He said the donation has come in the nick of time because Malawi’s population and attendant food requirements are growing fast.
“On behalf of the Government of Malawi allow me to express my warmest gratitude to Hebei Pingle Flour Manufacturing Company for supporting Malawi government’s efforts in its drive towards achieving a hunger-free nation by providing Malawi with the Solar-powered Irrigation and Milling Plant here.
“Our population is growing and with it a corresponding demand for food. This plant will therefore go a long way to ensure that there is enough supply of food to meet that demand,” said Nankhumwa.
He said the National Agriculture Policy advocates various strategies aimed at completely transforming the agriculture sector by among other things adopting production intensification and climate smart technologies.
Solar energy is one such climate-smart technology which will help tackle the climate change challenge and allow smallholder farmers achieve sustainable food, nutrition and income security, he said.
“This plant will help promote the goal of food and nutrition security for the growing population in Chiradzulu district and Malawi as a whole. The initiative has clearly demonstrated that it is possible to achieve multiple harvests and bumper yields in a year. I am convinced therefore that proper and full use of this plant will enable Malawi break the vicious food insecurity cycle,” he noted.
Nankhumwa urged farmers from the area to frequent Mikolongwe Farm in order to learn and to acquaint themselves with good agriculture practices, which he said are a prerequisite for improved crop, livestock and fisheries production.
He also said the plant will help create employment especially for people from the area and urged the leadership of the area to safeguard the initiative; to treat it as their own to avoid getting damaged as a result of mismanagement.
Added Nakhumwa: “This milling facility at this unit will serve households around here to process their maize into flour especially now when the country is facing power generation inadequacies. With a solar milling plant, you can be rest assured of milling at any time. It is therefore only logical that you take care of such a critical investment.”
He also urged the farmers to be vigilant in their methods, especially to look out for army worms, which he said can be dangerous as they are capable of wiping out the whole crop.
“Let me request all farmers gathered here today to be vigilant in scouting for Fall Army Worms and other emerging pests and diseases as these threaten output from our efforts to produce more in the fields if control measures are not deployed timely,” he said.
Among some high-profile guests at the function were Chairman of Hebei Pingle Flour Manufacturing Company, Li Jian Jun, Principal Secretary (PS) in Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, Gray Nyandule-Phiri and Senior Chief Kadewere of Chiradzulu.
After the ceremony, the Minister invited children from various churches in Luchenza and surrounding villages to his house for a feast. Among other things, Nankhumwa shared word of God with the children reminding them that they are God’s children and must therefore behave just like Jesus prescribed.
“This Christmas season is the time that we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ our Lord and saviour. As Children of God, this is the time to go to church; to be good to your parents and not to misbehave. We must all know that we are a reflection of Jesus and that it is only from him that we draw the joy that we desire,” Nankhumwa preached.
Nankhumwa and his three sons, Thabo, Eureka and Mzati gave the children various gifts and foodstuffs such as soft drinks and biscuits, among others, apart from the word of God with them.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :