The Department of Irrigation has asked Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development Kondwani Nankhumwa to help them lobby for funds for irrigation projects through Parliament.
Director of irrigation Engineer Geoffrey Mamba made the appeal on Monday when the minister toured the department’s offices and infrastructure in Lilongwe to appreciate the progress of irrigation projects.
He told the minister that irrigation projects are on track in all districts except Likoma, but said projects in some districts are facing funding problems.
Mamba said: “We have projects such as in Nkopola, Mangochi which the contractor finished and tested it but it cannot be operationalised because, according to the contract, government has to pay its 39 percent share.”
He said there are a number of projects that farmers are already benefiting from because they were commissioned but which farmers from other districts are yet to start seeing benefits due to some logistical delays.
Principal Secretary in the ministry Grey Nyandule Phiri said some delays are perpetrated by people outside the project sites who incite locals to make unnecessary demands from contractors.
“What happens is that the local people will welcome the project and the contractor starts work but, some people will just appear from nowhere and stat telling the people to demand compensation and the project stalls,” he said. Nyandule Phiri said it usually taMeanwhile, Nankhumwa has assured the department that he will lobby for funding to irrigation projects to ensure that food security improves in the country.