National

Kayerekera chiefs for irrigation over mining

By Samuel Kalimira:

MTUPANYAMA— We support farmers

Chiefs surrounding the dumped Kayerekera Uranium Mine in Karonga District have asked the government to support irrigation.

Group Village Head Foloko told Chief Director in the Ministry of Agriculture, Yanira Mtupanyama, on Tuesday that Kayerekera Uranium Mine failed to improve the living standards of community members; hence, irrigation was the way to go.

He said only 15 hectares out of 24 hectares at Kayerekera Irrigation Scheme were being put to use, attributing the development to lack of funds for buying farm inputs.

“If you see houses with iron sheets here, it is because of irrigation farming. Kayerekera failed us and we have nowhere to go.

“We are, therefore, asking the government to help us with farm inputs such as seeds, fertilisers and, later, good markets,” Foloko said.

Karonda District Chief Irrigation Officer, John Bvutula, said they were failing to cover the whole scheme because some water channels were dysfunctional.

“Many big schemes are not fully operational but we are working on, for example, Ndembwere Scheme’s channels. Currently we are utilising schemes in both Chitipa and Karonga Districts, cultivating crops on about 2,600 hectors,” Bvutula said.

Mtupanyama said the government was committed to supporting irrigation farmers through local councils, adding that 63 percent of land that is suitable for irrigation was being utilized nationally.

“We support farmers at the very beginning and leave them to support others,” Mtupanyama said.

Mtupanyama and agriculture officials visited schemes such as Kayerekera, Ndembwera, Wovwe and Mphinga.

The schemes are benefitting over 1000 farmers who cultivate rice, maize, beans and others crops.

world over, arguing that traffic moves faster when going in the same direction.

Chanza said the council would soon start marking roads as one-ways and sensitising residents to the new developments.

He said the council had plans to construct bypass roads between townships to enable people to connect from one township to another within the city without passing through the CBD.

Chanza said BCC secretariat has been engaging ward councillors to support construction of the bypass roads irrespective of whether they are being constructed in their wards.

“Naturally, they [councillors] would want to be seen as doing something in their wards but we have asked them that, for this period alone, they should think beyond their wards and focus on the greater good of the city,” he said.

Chanza said the council also wanted to construct a parkade, a multistorey building where people can park their cars and walk into the city.

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