Chief Mulungwe appeals for cheap irrigation equipments
Mkushi, May 8, ZANIS ——– Chief Mulungwe of the Lala people of Mkushi district has appealed for government to consider putting in place measures that would make irrigation appliances affordable for small scale farmers.
Chief Mulungwe told ZANIS that there was need for government to seriously consider exploring ways which would lead to prices of irrigation equipments becoming affordable for small scale farmers.
The traditional leader defended his appeal saying that the short duration of the rainfall pattern had clearly brought out the challenges of relying too much on rain fed farming.
He said that the aspect of irrigation was cardinal to efforts that would ensure year round farming, adding that irrigation equipment was a key factor in consolidating farming as a livelihood.
He observed that owing to the short duration of rainfall, small scale farmers were likely to record a general reduction in crop output as many engaged in farming only during the rainy season.
Chief Mulungwe said that such a situation was worrisome as it gave rise to projections of increased hunger as well as low earnings amongst the small holder farmers.
He expressed hope that his appeal would attract favourable consideration from relevant authorities, saying that traditional leaders shared a common responsibility with government on matters of ensuring food security.
He also mentioned that there was need for government to continue with improvements in the Farmer Input Support Program (FISP) activities with regards to timely delivery of maize and seed.
Chief Mulungwe proposed that the ideal delivery period was between August and September, explaining that such a move would help farmers in preparing adequately for the farming season.
And Chief Chitina of the Swaka speaking people of Mkushi has expressed concern with the effects that the short rainfall pattern was projected to have on the plight of small scale farmers.
The traditional leader consented with projections from various agriculture experts that hinted towards a reduced crop output for the 2013 marketing season.
Chief Chitina however maintained that government had been consistent in efforts that encouraged agronomic methods such as conservation farming as well as the push towards year round farming.
He also said that government had been consistent in highlighting the threats posed by variations in climate and rainfall pattern, saying that there was need for small scale farmers to scale up in heeding to government initiated sensitisation programs.
He implored small scale farmers to take advantage of the sensitisation activities that government was conducting on strategies to cope with climate change, saying that these were being administered through government’s agriculture Extension Officers.
He also urged government to seriously consider effecting measures that would lead to a shift from dependence on rain fed farming to the use of affordable irrigation appliances that would ensure continuity in farming activities.
Projections of low crop output were expressed from amongst small scale farmers as well as commercial farmers and these were backed by crop forecast reports from the District Agriculture Coordination Office (DACO).