The Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA) on Thursday (28th July, 2022) handed over a K329 million worth Chimwala-Mbangu Irrigation Scheme to communities in Senior Chief Malemia, Nsanje District, with a call for disaster risk management (DRM) stakeholders to focus on project implementation other than theory.
Speaking when he presided over the handover ceremony of the scheme, which was constructed under the Post Cyclone Idai Emergency Recovery and Resilience Project, (PCIREP) with funding from the African Development Bank (ADB), Commissioner for Disaster Management Affairs, Charles Kalemba, reiterated the need to break the food insecurity cycle, through meaningful and tangible projects.
“The lower shire has the potential to be the food basket for the country. With effects of climate change at their peak, it is a gamble to rely on rain-fed agriculture. We need to embrace irrigation farming.
“This is the time for action and implementation. As a people, we have wasted time on meetings, workshops and research. We have had enough of these. We have had a number of stakeholders implementing projects whose impact is yet to be seen.
“Let us also deal with corrupt practices at all levels, including project implementation. Such malpractices derail socio-economic development,” said Kalemba.
He then called upon the communities to jealously guard and make full use of the irrigation scheme, saying it has the potential to turn around their lives for the better.
In her remarks, Nsanje District Council Chairperson, Rose Makiyi, said with proper coordination and tailor-made projects, communities can be food secure and self-reliant.
“The construction and handing over of the scheme is a path in the right direction. We are not beggars; neither do we intend to keep relying on handouts. We are geared to make good use of this development for a food secure Nsanje,” said Makiyi.
Chairperson of Chimwala-Mbangu Irrigation Scheme, Givemore Zambasa, said currently, 433 farmers have utilized 50 out of 200 hectares earmarked to benefit 812 farming families.
“This is a flood-prone area and the scheme provides a conducive environment for farming activities. Our crops end up being washed away by floods during the rainy season. This is our path to food security at household and community level,” 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.
The cyclone, which hit the country in March 2019, affected 975,000 people; left 87,000 displaced, 60 dead and 672 injured.