Nkusa-Nkhoma, who is a legislator for Mchinji South constituency on Wednesday received round of applause from people in Traditional Authority Kambwiri in Salima when she advocated on their behalf for the need of National Registration Bureau identity Cards to be for life so that rural farmers do not face the challenge of travelling long distances for renewal.
Nkusa-Nkhoma addressing local farmers at Msengedzi Irrigation scheme said that it does not make any sense for people from rural areas to be renewing identity cards to access farm input.
"It is important that we talk about these things so we can ignite a national debate and I am sure Parliament will help to change this law," said the deputy minister.
Nkusa-Nkhoma said: "Travelling to the cities for the rural farmers is very expensive and too involving, hence a need to change this law."
Commenting on the importance of the Msengedzi Solar Irrigation scheme , Nkusa-Nkhoma said the project is important because it will help to ensure that there is food security at household level.
Msengedzi Solar Powered Pump Irrigation Scheme is situated in Salima South West Constituency, TA Kambwiri, Snr GVH Chimbalanga about 5km from Salima Boma.
The scheme is in Katerera EPA, Salima RDP under Salima Agricultural Development Division (ADD), in Salima District Council. The scheme is accessible from Salima town through Salima- Balaka lakeshore road (M5).
Msengedzi Irrigation scheme started in 2006, with few beneficiaries. The scheme was using treadle pumps and watering cans to irrigate a total area of 1ha with earthen canals.
In 2008, FIDP upgraded the scheme where new canals and a 10Hp diesel pump was installed.
The scheme has 9 hectares potential area for irrigation, however only 2 hectares developed in 2008 which farmers are now using during irrigation season. The area is dominated with alluvial loam clay soils and is relatively flat suitable for growing rice and winter maize.
Chairman of the scheme Mr Robert Phiri told journalists that the scheme is comprised of 45 beneficiaries, of which 10 are males, 25 females and 10 youths from surrounding villages who earn their living through irrigated crops such as; maize, vegetables, rice and fishing.
Under the water resources Act of 1969 farmers using water for irrigation are supposed to pay in respective of the volume of water used. The water quality is good for irrigation development." Phiri said.
On challenges Phiri said the scheme is underutilized due to shortage of water since the pump was broken down.
The scheme area is too small hence need to be extended to accommodate more farmers.
"Lack of trusted marketing outlets for the irrigated produce." Phiri said.