CARD improves farmer livelihoods in Machinga

Machinga, September 7, Mana: Director for Agriculture, Environment and Natural Resources for Machinga, Nditani Maluwa, has touted Climate Challenge Program Malawi (CCPM) in the district as beneficial, saying it has improved lives of small-scale farmers.

In the district, CCPM is being implemented by Church Action in Relief and Development (CARD) through Trocaire with financial support from the Scottish Government.

The program is implemented in Group Village Heads Nkhubwa and Magulu in Traditional Authority Nsanama.

Speaking during a monitoring visit to the project site on Monday, Maluwa expressed appreciation for the program, saying it has uplifted the livelihoods of community members.

Among other areas, the initiative focuses on food, energy, and water.

“We have witnessed how the program has economically empowered rural farmers with technologies that have helped them venture into mushroom, fish, and bee-keeping production,” Maluwa said.

He further stated that the program had eased water challenges through the construction of water kiosks and the initiation of irrigation schemes for the communities.

Maluwa (r) appreciates Tukusi Solar Irrigation Scheme
Maluwa (r) appreciates Tukusi Solar Irrigation Scheme

However, Maluwa advised communities in the district to make good use of the facilities, saying development is sustained when it is owned by community members themselves.

“Use farmer groups as a learning platform. Whatever you have learnt as a group should be practiced individually at home,” he advised.

Machinga District Council’s Senior Irrigation Officer, Dan Nsambakunsi, asked CARD to consider upgrading the water capacity of the irrigation schemes.

“During summer, crops need more water but currently, the tanks installed at Ntukusi Solar Powered Irrigation Scheme can only be filled with 5,000 metric liters of water,” said Nsambakunsi. 

He said over 95 percent of the land in the district has irrigation potential but only three percent is currently being utilized for irrigation farming.

Chairperson for Likwenu Solar Irrigation Scheme, Charles Yusufu, said communities have indeed benefited from the project.

“We are able to cultivate twice or thrice per year and we are now able to sell some of our produce. Additionally, before this project, we were drinking unsafe and salty water, but now we get safe water from the kiosk,” he said.

CARD Senior Project Officer for Machinga, Grant Mzembe, attributed the success of the project to the good working relationship among stakeholders.

Mzembe: good working relationship among stakeholders has contributed to the success

He also hailed the technical support the project was getting from the district council, saying the council officers have been involved throughout the project implementation.

Since the monitoring visit to the project site was organized as part of the project exit strategy, Mzembe advised communities to come up with ways of sustaining the project activities.

“All the achievements we have registered in this project will be meaningless if the community fails to sustain the gains,” he said.