Chitipa district commissioner McMillan Magomero has asked farmers in Senior Chief Mwabulambya to utilise the Marko Irrigation Scheme constructed in the area under Programme for Rural Irrigation Development (Pride) project.
He said this on Thursday during the handover of the K1.9 billion scheme to farmers.
Magomero said the irrigation scheme belongs to farmers, as such, they were supposed to utilise it to achieve food security.
He said: “I appeal to farmers to use the facility to grow crops to achieve food security in the area.
“There will be capacity building for the water users association on how to manage the scheme.”
Magomero asked the communities to refrain from cultivating along the river banks and settling in its catchment area.
“We don’t need to tamper with the scheme’s catchment area, because if we do that, the facility will have a short lifespan. We need to sustain the irrigation scheme by conserving the catchment and its green cover,” he said.
Senior Chief Mwabulambya thanked government for constructing the scheme, which he said will promote food security and boost economic activities in the area.
“We are happy because we thought it would be impossible to complete the project on time. Farmers will now use the scheme this winter,” he said.
One of the farmers, Abdala Milazi, who is also WUA secretary, assured the government that they will use the facility for its intended purpose.
“This is an opportunity to grow crops more once a year, so, we cannot vandalise the scheme’s equipment,” he said.
Pride project started constructing Marko and Mafinga irrigation schemes in the district in 2022.