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Thursday, 08 February 2018 18:46

Blantyre Councillors for more irrigation schemes

Written by  Solister Mogha

Blantyre, February 8, 2018: Councilors from Blantyre District have asked for more irrigation schemes, saying it is the only sustainable way of increasing crop production and addressing food insecurity in the wake of dry spell which has affected most parts of the Southern Region.

Speaking after a day-long tour to some of the irrigation projects under Malawi Drought Recovery and Resilience Project (MDRRP) in the district, Chairperson for Blantyre District Council, Tawanda Tambula, noted that investing in irrigation is the only way to achieve sustainable food security in the district and Malawi as a whole.

Tambula said if proper irrigation systems were developed in the past, the current dry spell causing panic amongst farmers today could have been “a scar under the skin”.

“Honestly speaking, irrigation farming is panacea for achieving sustainable food security in Malawi. It is an open secret that hunger would be a thing of the past in areas where irrigation schemes have been established,” he said.

Tambula added, “Through irrigation systems, people have the choice to grow various crops all the year round, thereby enabling farmers to improve their social economic status through selling of farm produce.”

Blantyre District Irrigation Officer, Chisuse Imani said the major technologies that are being promoted for smallholder irrigation in the district include; gravity fed irrigation, motorized pump based irrigation, treadle pump based irrigation and the traditional watering can based irrigation.

“In total, there are 165 irrigation sites in Blantyre of which 53 are using gravity fed irrigation technology, six use motorized pumps, 39 use treadle pumps while 67 use water cans. Over 11,134 people are benefiting from these irrigation technologies,” Imani said.

Meanwhile, government through the Ministry of Agriculture and Water Development is promoting irrigation farming to increase crop production in the country.