By Loness Gwazanga
Farmers around Traditional Authorities (TAs) Lundu and Chigaru in Blantyre have commended Foundation for Irrigation and Sustainable Development (FISD) for transforming their lives through its Integrated Approaches to Natural Resources Management and Conservation (INACOSH) project.
The three year project which started in 2015 was implemented with funding from Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) has among others helped 250 farmers from the two TAs become food secure through the 60 Hectare Bakasala Scheme that FISD initiated.
Through the project, solar powered irrigation pumps were installed and reservoir was constructed to ensure smooth operation of the scheme.
One of the 102 female farmers of the scheme, Violet Chauluka of Kamwiki village said on Friday that since the introduction of INACOSH three years ago, she has enough food all year round.
“Through the scheme, FISD taught us how to grow rice and maize using modern methods and I can proudly say hunger is a thing of the past in my family. As a group, we also sell some of our harvests to get money for our needs.
“Am now able to pay school fees for children and I make sure that they are provided with necessary basic needs. This was not the case before FISD came to this community because I only relied on charcoal burning for my daily meal,” the Mother of five said.
INACOSH Project Manager, Levi Gomagoma said he was satisfied with the impact of the project and was happy to leave.
“Am very happy with the results from the project. Through the years we have witnessed positive economic growth among the beneficiaries of the project. This is why we are happy to leave because we know they are now capable of sustaining the scheme, “he added.
While urging the beneficiaries to guard the scheme jealously for their own good, he, however was quick to mention that FISD will always be available for guidance where need be.
INACOSH Project Board of Trustee Member, Alfred Chimwemwe said he would encourage the members to continue working hard not only to increase production but also to ensure sustainability of the scheme.
The project was mainly aimed at contributing towards the reduction of soil erosion happening in the upper sections of giant Shire River catchment, which has led to siltation and sedimentation of Nkula dam where electricity is generated.
Activities promoted in the K300 million project included Solar powered irrigation farming, afforestation, Village Savings and Loans as well as gender inclusion campaigns with about 13,000 beneficiaries.-Mana