Nsanje farmers’ operation stalls as multimillion kwacha solar irrigation scheme dies

Hundreds of farmers in Nsanje North are in dire stress as farming operations have stalled at Makhapha solar powered irrigation scheme, a few months after the multimillion Kwacha irrigation scheme was handed over to farmers for use.

The solar powered scheme

The scheme’s Chairperson Davite Mainje has confirmed the development in an interview saying their first crops are already drying up due to malfunctioning equipment.

Mainje said the malfunctioning of the equipment has come about due to substandard work on the part of the contractors that were hired to construction works.

He said their production will be heavily affected as they have been failing to irrigate their crops for three weeks now since the scheme stopped operating.

“Just imagine, this time around our crops are drying up as it has taken about three weeks without irrigating them as the equipment stopped functioning.

“Despite our efforts reporting the issue to the authorities in the district, nothing has been done to ensure that the problems are rectified. As farmers, we have fears as really our irrigation scheme will attain the expected food security and income at a household level in the work of sporadic rainfall as was designed,” said a very demoralized looking Mainje.

The district’s irrigation Engineer Edward Mkandawire has acknowledged the concerns saying the system is indicating that it is under voltage which can be due to dead panels among other things.

Mkandawire however was quick to say that the problems would be rectified as the whole system need to be checked.

“I acknowledge the challenges being faced by the farmers at Makhapha irrigation scheme. The contractor did his work superbly but only that the 2015 floods damaged some structures on the scheme. Let me assure the farmers that the whole system will be checked and resolve the equipment faults for effective performance,” Mkandawire made the commitment in an interview.

Makhapha irrigation scheme is covering about 150 hectares.

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Lloyd
Guest

This is total misrepresentation of facts, These are the views of the writer and not what is on the ground.

concerned citizen
Guest

Edward Mkandawire where were you for three weeks without doing any thing about the problem when you very well knew that the crops can not stand drought for long. This is poor performance on your part – period !!! . Kapena kuti chifukwa you are not from Nsanje so, you do not care about the plight of the farmers

Tiyanjane
Guest

The last part of your comment is irrelevant. I think Mkandawire is just a weak supervisor who could have demonstrated the same under performance in dedza, ntaja or rumphi.

Chi
Guest

It’s does not matter where he is coming from but he has failed his job. Mkandawire, from the response you gave you do not qualify to hold that office like CEO of Lilongwe city, Malawi housing and Lilongwe water board

Chi
Guest

It’s does not matter where he is coming from but he has failed his job. From the response you gave you do not hold that office like CEO of Lilongwe city Malawi housing and Lilongwe water board

Nyasaland
Guest

Underperformance at all levels is the problem in Malawi. Was the solar irrigation system ever serviced since installation? Is the contractor local or an expatriate? Were the farmers ever taught basic maintainance of the system.? What happened with public reforms????

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