Submitted by Victor Katchika-Jere
Pictured here is Mrs Mashaweni of Jailosi Village in Ndakwera whose maize crop has been affected beyond redemption. Chikwawa is one of the districts in the Shire Valley where ASAP is implementing the Chimvano pa Chuma Project (CCP). The project comprises Village Savings and Lending (VS&L) Project along with small-scale irrigation and conservation agriculture activities in order to improve livelihoods of the beneficiaries and enhance food security at household level. The demand for such initiatives has heightened due to the continuous and widespread dry spell, which the district is experiencing and has lasted for over four weeks.
The absence of rains coupled with hot weather conditions have led to serious crop conditions. The two project sites for ASAP in the district; Ndakwera and Kabwatika are among the hardest hit according to the recent press release from the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security.
In these two areas, the maize crop has reached permanent wilting point such that it would not recuperate even if the rains started falling normally today. While there has been total loss of some maize, the drought tolerant crops like sorghum and pigeon peas are withstanding the dry spell. Thanks to ASAP´s seed multiplication initiative beneficiaries are able to access these drought tolerant varieties!
In view of this development, ASAP is mobilizing communities around small-scale irrigation. ASAP has already planned to provide 50 treadle pumps at subsidized prices to some of the affected community members to start small-scale irrigation using the dams which were constructed to harvest water at the time when rains were falling normally.