Nsanje is a district in the southern most part of Malawi. The shire river runs most of the district’s eastern boundary. It is one the poorest district in Malawi and its major income comes from small holder maize farming. The crops depend entirely on rain fed agriculture.
It is against this back ground that the people of Mwachedwa village, Traditional Authority Mbenje in the district have embarked on irrigation farming to make positive change in their lives by utilizing the waters (available resource) from the Shire river.
According to local chief Mwachedwa, the community has only two treadle pumps against almost 500 households. “These pumps were given to us by the government. We use them in groups but they are not enough, we are many. But still we manage to plant maize two times a year. If we had enough pumps, we can manage to plant at least three to four times a year thereby fighting hunger” said chief Mwachedwa.
“We are fed up of begging. We are fed up of having our children malnourished, we have the land, the water, the energy, why should we not feed our children and ourselves? Next time you come, we promise you, you are going to see a difference” narrated Gogo Nachilongo
When it is their turn to use the treadle pump, the families abandon their homes and make the fields their home. This is to make sure that they maximize the chance because the two pumps rotate among the members and takes time to come back to the same group.
“This place has a lot of mosquitoes, therefore we make sure we bring our sleeping nets with us. Especially, with our young ones, we want them to sleep under a mosquito net always” said one of the mothers
In as much as most of the fields are green, other parts are dry and the maize was dying because the pump is taking long to reach this group and the owners use buckets for irrigation.
Zero tolerance to hunger, zero tolerance to malnutrition!
By Mercy Chikhosi Nyirongo