People from Senior Chief Kalembo in Balaka can now breathe a sigh of relief following the commissioning of a K26 million worth of Kakhobwe Irrigation Scheme, thanks to World Food Program (WFP) through Find Your Feet (FYF).
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Kalembo is one of the places in Balaka with the highest number of people affected with hunger because it is prone to floods and dry spells most of the time.
Speaking when commissioned the irrigation scheme on Monday, District Commissioner for Balaka, Emmanuel Bambe said the initiative the council’s priority to embrace irrigation farming as one way of ending hunger in the district.
“Irrigation farming is one of the key priority areas in our District Development Plan, and we have been discussing this at length during our full council meetings.
“There is no way Balaka should always be on the Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee report as one of the districts in need of relief food assistance.
“Last year, we were on number two at the national level and number one in the eastern region. This is a serious matter that needs serious attention,” said Bambe.
On his part, Find Your Feet Executive Director, Chimwemwe Soko said depending on the rain- fed agriculture is a challenge as far as climate change is concerned.
“We have capacitated the community around this scheme to take full responsibility of it so it can last long.
“We have noted that there are so many schemes in the district that started well but have failed because the community did not own the schemes.
“We want to see the community around this scheme upgrade their lives by building better houses and having food to eat and sell their produce to pay for their children’s school fees,” he said.
Soko further asked the farmers to practice crop diversification, saying it would help them have a variety of food, rather than just having the usual maize.
On his part, Chairperson for the scheme, Allan Chigwenembe thanked FYFf or the scheme, saying the area has been facing a number of challenges because of relying on rain-fed agriculture.
He said there are over 70 farmers who will be utilising this scheme.