Women in the area of Traditional Authority Mponera in Dowa have embraced drip irrigation, describing the method as one of the most efficient agriculture practices which have numerous advantages over other practices.
The women are a part and parcel of a 4-year Sustainable Food Systems for Rural Agriculture Transformation and Resilience (TRANSFORM) project being coordinated by Norwegian Church Aid and Dun church Aid (NCA/DCA) with support from the Royal Norwegian Embassy.
The project targets 180,000 agriculture dependent rural households from 2020 to 2023 in 5 districts including Dowa, Mchinji, Kasungu, Mzimba and Rumphi.
Speaking during a media tour organized by NCA/DCA in Dowa, one of the farmers Emelesia Kennedy from Thethe Village in the area of Traditional Authority Mponela said they have been exposed to an irrigation system that is motivating them to do more faming activities.
Kennedy said, apart from efficient use of water, the system allows them to have time for other activities as it does not require the physical presence of the farmer and it can also be used to apply pesticides.
“This is a simple irrigation method for us, once the buckets that we use are full; we leave to attend to other assignments. However, the technology is also user friendly regardless of one’s gender or status and it does not need a lot of energy.
Currently, the women are operating under Msangu club on their plot, and they have water melons and other various vegetables ready to hit the market.
NCA/DCA Extension Officer Mwiza Theu said they encourage small holder farmers to adopt drip irrigation to produce horticulture crops because it is simple, affordable and profitable.
Theu said project’s main objective is to strengthen local food systems in selected Extension Planning Areas (EPAs) of the five districts in mention and to demonstrate a sustainable improvement of food and nutrition security, resilience to climate change and income among agriculture dependent rural households.
She said the project is changing lives of smallholder farmers more especially women and they are happy that it is achieving its intended purpose as women have started being financially dependent among others.
“So far, the project is really changing lives, we have seen women getting transformed economically, and they are able to take care of their households.
“In this project, we give the farmers capital for them to produce and sell and then decide what to do with the money, but we have observed that some of them are development oriented as they are also using the profits to venture into livestock farming,” she said
Drip irrigation is a type of micro-irrigation system that has the potential to save water and nutrients by allowing water to drip slowly to the roots of plants, either from above or below the soil surface.
Under this type of irrigation method, water is placed directly into the root zone of the plant to minimize evaporation.