Mzimba district commissioner Emmanuel Bambe has unveiled the construction of the 313-hactare Lupenga Irrigation Scheme to improve agricultural productivity.
Recently, he briefed Mabilabo Area Development Committee (ADC) about the scheme to be constructed under the Programme for Rural Irrigation Development (Pride) funded by International Fund for Agricultural Development (Ifad).
Bambe asked the committee members to lead by example by taking farming as business to educate their children and acquire vital assets, including decent houses, motorbikes and cars.
Bambe asked the ADC to sensitise communities to the importance of irrigation.
“With climate change, irrigation is the answer to hunger and poverty as the country experiences erratic rainfall,” said Bambe.
He advised the farmers that they will only reap the benefits of irrigation if they form groups and grow high-value crops, not maize.
“If you form groups, sustainability of supply is guaranteed and you will have greater bargaining power,” explained Bambe.
Mabilabo ADC chairperson Isaac Shaba promised to support the project for the benefit of farming families.
Inkosana David Jere said the scheme is timely as crop yields in the area fall.
“Once the scheme is completed, food insecurity will be history. We will be harvesting twice or thrice a year,” said the village head.
In Senior Chief Mabilabo territory, Pride will develop a 564-hectare scheme in Perete Phiri and a 784-hactare affair in Bwanamudoko.
Pride will phase out in 2023. Ifad bankrolls the project in partnership with the Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (Asap) and the government.