Farmers in Zomba have been urged to invest their time and resources in irrigation farming in order to eliminate hunger.
Henry Khonyongwa, food security technical coordinator for the Titukulane Project made the call during the official handover of the K25 million Ikhanga Irrigation Scheme to the community in the area of Group Village Headman Fikira, Sub Traditional Authority Nkapita.
Save the Children, a consortium partner in the implementation of a five-year Titukulane Project, facilitated the construction of the scheme with funding from United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
Khonyongwa said the 5.5 hectares scheme has the potential of saving the communities from the current acute food insecurity if fully utilized.
He stated, “The area has very huge potential downstream so they can irrigate an area of more than 12 hectares.”
Khonyongwa also challenged the farmers to take ownership of the irrigation system to ensure sustainability.
“The community should take care of the scheme by contributing towards operation and maintenance of all the structures that they have been given,” Khonyongwa said.
He also hailed the community members for their effective participation in the project.
“We have worked with local artisans and local members who contributed by molding bricks for the canals and the funds provided have been used for labour and purchasing of materials such as cement,” Khonyongwa said.
Oscar William, chairperson of Ikhanga Irrigation Scheme and lead farmer, expressed delight with the gesture saying they will now cultivate three times a year.
William vowed to take care of the irrigation system, stating, “We will plant vetiver grass along the canals to ensure consistent water supply to 38 farmers under the scheme.”
The Ikhanga Irrigation Scheme has a total land overage of 12 hectares.
Titukulane Project, which is being implemented in Zomba and Mangochi districts, aims at ensuring sustainable, equitable, and resilient food and nutrition security for ultra-poor and chronically vulnerable households.