As government continues weighing options to end the hunger threats rooming in the country, some chiefs from the southern region have asked the ministry of agriculture to hasten the introduction of agriculture irrigation schemes.

Speaking in an interview after a consultative meeting with local leaders and stakeholders on food and nutrition security based on 2015/16 agriculture season organized by the ministry of agriculture in Blantyre, Traditional Authority Chamba of Machinga said it is high time government introduced more irrigation schemes which will help in reducing the current hunger reports that the country is currently going through.

Chamba therefore promised that he would encourage his subjects to shift from rain feed agriculture to irrigation.
Whilst commending government for encouraging farmers to work in cooperatives under irrigation schemes, Chamba stressed the need for government to support farmers with mechanized farm equipments saying this will enable the farmers grow more crops and have bumper yields.

“When i back to my area I will call my subjects and tell them what I have learnt in this meeting, that we need to make use of the available water sources in our area and increase winter cropping under schemes so that we can grow more crops, and get enough support for our farming and get good markets” said Chamba.

However Traditional Authority Chamba bemoaned the tendency of some people who are missing using agricultural mechanized equipments for other reasons other than farming.

Speaking earlier minister of agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, Dr George Chaponda said government has lined up a number of interventions that will enhance food production within the current season and beyond in order reduce recurrence of food insecurity at household, community and national levels.
Chaponda said irrigation farming under smallholders is one of the interventions which will help in keeping the country food secure.

However the minister disclosed that government alone can afford to provide all the required resources and facilities, and hence calling upon all stakeholders to help government in alleviating its plans on irrigation.
“As a long term measure, we are involved in empowering small holder farmers who are about 205,000 by providing them with fertilizer, solar irrigation and mortalised irrigation farms and we are hopeful that if they are properly supported they are capable of producing about 140,000 metric tonnes” said Chaponda.

Meanwhile 7 irrigation specialists are conducting a feasibility study in Nsanje where government intends to open up an irrigation project.

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