The Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA) has taken a bold step in breaking the food insecurity cycle through rehabilitation of irrigation schemes which were damaged by the March 2019 Cyclone Idai-induced floods.
DoDMA is rehabilitating the irrigation schemes with funding from the African Development Bank (ADB) under the Post Cyclone Idai Emergency Recovery Project (PCIREP).
At the 200-hectare-sized Chimwala-Mbangu Irrigation Scheme, communities from Traditional Authority Malemia have started harvesting crops they planted following completion of rehabilitation works.
Speaking when he visited the irrigation schemes to appreciate progress made, Commissioner for Disaster Management Affairs, Charles Kalemba, said it was high time the country embraced irrigation farming and winter cropping to break the food insecurity cycle.
“Effects of climate change have hit us hard, we cannot continue to rely on rain-fed agriculture. We need to enhance ways through which we can build self-reliance and resilience of communities and the nation as a whole.
“This is the path development partners and all stakeholders need to take if we were to make meaningful strides in breaking the food insecurity cycle. We are destined to having higher yields if we invested in irrigation and winter farming. We can be selling surplus requirements and generate the much-needed income for socio-economic development of the nation,” said Kalemba.
Chimwala-Mbangu Irrigation Scheme Chairperson, Givemore Zambasa, said communities have the potential to break the food insecurity cycle if assisted with need-based interventions.
“We are not beggars; we have no intentions to be surviving on handouts. They [handouts] are not dignifying, they are so demeaning and reduces our self-esteem. With proper assistance, we can work wonders down here. Efforts by DoDMA have already started paying dividends. We planted immediately after completion of the rehabilitation works and have started harvesting.
“Currently, we are utilizing 120 hectares and we are looking forward to utilizing all the 200 hectares. We are 823 [families] in total and hundreds of families have expressed interest to be allocated a piece of land on the scheme; having witnessed the progress we have made following the rehabilitation,” said Zambasa.
PCIREP aims at restoring and improving sustainable livelihoods, enhance disaster risk reduction and early warning preparedness, support inclusive socio-economic recovery empowerment and enhance post-recovery adaptive capacity for people who were affected by Cyclone Idai.
Idai affected 975,000 people, left 87,000 displaced, 60 dead and 672 injured.