by Felix Malamula
The Minister of Agriculture, Honorable Sam Kawale, MP, says Government is committed to ensuring that rural farmers are empowered to produce more for consumption as well as the market.
“As Government, we are very committed to ensuring that our farmers are provided with the opportunities to grow more for their food and for sale. This is why we are putting up such infrastructure for irrigation” said Hon. Kawale.
The Minister was speaking when he toured Lingoni and Mlooka Irrigation Schemes in Machinga and Zomba districts respectively.
“These schemes, once in operation, will enable our rural farmers grow more than once in a year. The result is that, food security will be achieved at both household and national level,” added Hon. Kawale.
During his visit to the two schemes, the Minister was taken to the schemes’ intakes, farming fields, holding dams and Water Users Association (WUA) office buildings.
On the construction works progress, the Minister while expressed satisfaction with the quality of the works, urging the contractors to speed up and complete the construction works so that farmers can start using the schemes to grow crops.
“As you have already seen, the farmers are ready to start using the infrastructure for their irrigation farming. I implored the contractors to work with speed so that the works are completed in time,” said Hon. Kawale.
Senior Chief Chamba, under whose area Lingoni Irrigation Scheme is being constructed thanked the minister for the visit which he said will encourage his subjects to get more organized as they prepare to start using the scheme.
“The Minister’s coming has shown government’s seriousness in ensuring that my subjects receive this scheme in good time. His visit has sent a message to the people in my area that government is serious in ensuring that, as soon as this year, we can start using the scheme,” said Chief Chamba.
Lingoni and Mlooka irrigation schemes are two of the four schemes the Department of Irrigation is constructing through PRIDE. The other two are Wowo in Phalombe and Matoponi in Zomba district.
Three schemes are being constructed in the Northern Region, namely Mafinga and Marko in Chitipa and Mzenga in Nkhata Bay bringing the number of schemes being constructed to seven. Mafinga and Marko are almost completed with farmers starting to use them.
During the tour, the minister was accompanied by the Principal Secretary for Irrigation, Engineer Geoffrey Mamba and the Director of Irrigation Services, Geoffrey Mwepa.