Small-scale farmers in Paramount Chief Kyungu in Karonga have asked the district council to resuscitate Mwanyongo II Irrigation Scheme to improve food production through irrigation farming.
In an interview, Witule Farmers Club chairperson Austin Mwamlima said winter cropping has the potential to address the district’s food insecurity.
He said farmers are using hoes and water cans to grow crops such as rice, maize, groundnuts and vegetables.
Said Mwamlima: “We ask government to help us with solar-powered equipment to pump water from North Rukuru River to the farm.
“We also want ploughs to enable us till bigger parts.”
He said the group has donated about K1.6 million for the purchase of farm inputs and to support members to pay school fees for their wards.
In a separate interview, Malungo Section agricultural development officer Tamandani Banda said through Malawi Smallholder Horticulture Empowerment Promotion, farmers are taught to take farming as a business.
He said: “We encourage farmers to find markets before growing their crops.
“We also encourage them to follow the farming calendar and to involve women and youth in farming activities.”
Banda has since asked authorities to help the club with better markets for their produce, solar panels and water pumps to enable them maximise production.
Karonga District director of agriculture, environment and natural resources Raphael Mkisi said the request should be channelled to the district council through local structures such as village and area development committees.
He said: “Our office only gets Other Recurrent Transaction for utility bills and operations.
“So, those farmers can request funding from constituency and district development funds through their ward councillor and member of Parliament to facilitate the purchasing of water pumps, solar panels and farm inputs.”