Government Flagship Mega farm empowers communities in Salima

By Fostina Mkandawire

A mega farm under Greenbelt Authority (GBA) in Salima District is said to be transforming lives of community members who are benefiting from the initiative through employment.

Speaking during a media tour of the 100 hectare Chikwawa Irrigation Scheme located in the area of Senior Chief Khombedza, one of the beneficiaries, Owen Mwase, described his experience at the scheme as life changing.

Mwase said prior to his employment at the farm as a casual labourer, he used to struggle to make ends meet especially when it came to feeding his family.

“I now own twenty chickens and two goats; as such, buying food for my household is no longer a hurdle. Our area is marred by food insufficiency since our crops did not do well the last farming season,” Mwase said.

He said with wages he realises from the farm,  he now affords to send his children to school with all the necessary provisions such as notebooks and money for school development fund.

Another beneficiary, Kerita Lyson commended the initiative, saying with the K16,100 in wages she receives every Friday, she managed to rent a piece of land and is able to care for her four children.

Group Village Head Mwazawala under Senior Chief Khombedza, in whose area the mega farm is located, expressed gratitude that most of his subjects are employed at the farm.

“I am grateful to government for this development which is of benefit to my area. The establishment of the farm came at a good time as many people in this area have been struggling to make ends meet.

“I have also noted that people working at the farm are organised and are jealously guarding it from ill intended people. The maize is doing well and we are anticipating bumper harvest,” Mwazawala said.

In his remarks, BGA Chief Executive Officer, Eric Chidzungu revealed that the Authority plans to expand the mega farms to scale up more job opportunities and ensure food security in the country.

“We believe in collaborating with communities to give them ownership, hence solely depending on local workers for the success of the farm,” Chidzungu said.

He expressed satisfaction that despite Salima having experienced dry spells in the past two weeks, Chikwawa Scheme is estimated to produce more than 280 metric tonnes of maize this season.

Currently, Chikwawa Irrigation Scheme has employed 140 locals manning the 100-hectare farm in the district.