President Dr. Joyce Banda has called on Malawians to embrace drip irrigation, describing it as one of the most efficient agriculture practices which have numerous advantages over other practices.
Speaking during the inauguration ceremony of the Advanced Agro-technology for Sustainable Development project at the Natural Resources College in the area of Traditional Authority Malili in Lilongwe after touring a demonstration centre where maize, vegetables and bananas are being grown using the system, she said the Malawi-Israel partnership has established 28 demonstration centres where Malawians can learn more about the system.
“These demonstration centres will be meaningless if farmers surrounding them do not patronize these facilities. I therefore urge traditional leaders to encourage their subjects to patronize these facilities.
“In light of climate change water is becoming a scarce resource therefore this type of irrigation is efficient in water use as it allows the farmer to only irrigate where it is required most as water slowly drips into the plant station thus avoiding run offs, evaporation or wind,” said Banda.
President Banda further said apart from the efficient use of water, the system allows the farmer to have time for other activities as it does not require the physical presence of the farmer, can be used to apply fertilizer and pesticides.
“It is pleasing to know that you as a farmer do not need to be physically present as long as you feel the tank with enough water. The system is not labour intensive furthermore
I have been informed that the system can be used to apply fertilizer and other chemicals to eliminate plant disease effectively.
“The technology is user friendly regardless of one’s gender or health status. I am sure women will take advantage of the technology as it does not need a lot of energy and allow the user enough time to attend to other assignments,” said Banda.
Ambassador of Israel to Malawi Gil Haskel in a statement at the inauguration ceremony said the ceremony marks the handover of technical know-how which would transform the country’s ability to control its agriculture in a manner which could end food insecurity thereby allowing Malawians a better future and a better life.
“The idea behind this technology is to grow more with less. This is the core objective of this project, more crops with less water and less land. We are handing over to our friends and partners in the Malawi government this demonstration plot together with more than 30 additional plots all over Malawi,” said Haskel.
Haskel said Israel will continue to support Malawi in capacity building by training in addition to the 32 students who are studying agriculture in Israel, 40 more students will be trained for a year to gain more expertise in drip irrigation technology.
“Let me announce here that we are sending 40 more students to Israel in order to bring back technology to Malawi. Malawi- Israel relations your Excellency go back a long way, we were here to witness the birth of this country 50 years ago.
“As we worked with the first President Dr Banda, we will continue working with the current President and the next president as friends and partners to develop Malawi into a prosperous and rich country,” said Haskel.
Deputy Minister Agriculture and Food Security, Binton Kumtsaira, said the three year project, which aims at contributing to government’s objective of reducing poverty and hunger through sustainable agriculture, water management and irrigation development would allow farmers to increase their output for export.