A public expenditure tracking (PET) survey conducted by Kasungu Civil Society Network (Kusnet) has revealed that low budget allocation to the irrigation sector in Kasungu is hampering irrigation development.
Kusnet, a grouping of over 35 civil society organisations working in Kasungu, conducted the survey with funding from Civil Society Agriculture Network (Cisanet).
Presenting the findings on Friday, Kusnet secretary Braxton Banda revealed that only K4 million out of the K7.1 million allocated to the Department of Irrigation in Kasungu was disbursed.
“What we discovered is very shocking. The money allocated to irrigation in Kasungu was K7.1 million and out of this figure government has only released about K4 million yet Kasungu has 8 extension planning areas.
“This is just three months before the end of the financial year. The K4 million did not even trickle to the irrigation projects but was used for administration,” said Banda during a meeting attended by Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development officials, traditional leaders and farmers, among others.
Patrick Kumvenji from the finance office of the Kasungu District Council confirmed the figures.
“We did not get the whole K7.1 million in one chunk. The central government gives us money in monthly instalments as such it is difficult to implement the projects,” said Kumvenji.
Jones Banda, who represented National Civil Initiative for Education (Nice) on the Kusnet task force, said as civil society they are advocating for allocation of more funding to the Irrigation Department, so that famers benefit from better extension services. n