Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development George Chaponda has officially launched distribution of treadle pumps in the Northern Region to boost crop production.
In recent years, experts have attributed food insecurity to overdependence on rain-fed agriculture in a country endowed with some perennial rivers and Africa’s third biggest lake.
To encourage irrigation farming, Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development has bought 4 460 treadle pumps for distribution to smallholder farmers. The ministry is also providing the farmers with inputs, including maize seed, for winter cropping.
Speaking on Saturday during the launch of treadle pumps distribution at Mzokoto in Rumphi where 15 treadle pumps have been handed over to farmers, Chaponda said the distribution of treadle pumps is a commitment by government for the country to move away from over dependency on rain-fed agriculture.
He said the country as a whole should embrace irrigation farming in the wake of climate change effects.
Chaponda also warned people against food wastage during various ceremonies. He also encouraged people to diversify their food choices and stop taking maize as a staple food.
Rumphi District Council chairperson Harry Munyembe asked the ministry to also consider farmers in the district with solar-powered pumps which, he said, will not ease irrigation pumping efforts but also cover a wider area.
Senior Chief Mwankhunikira encouraged his subjects to embrace irrigation farming. He urged all chiefs under his jurisdiction to pass on the message to their subjects to promote food security.