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$10 million needed for Shire Valley transformation

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The Shire Valley Transformation Programme (SVTP) will require another $10 million to reconstruct the water intake structure which was destroyed by the Tropical Storm Ana earlier this year.

This is according to SVTP Irrigation Engineer Martin Chidzalema, who said construction of the first six kilometres of the canal is at 67 percent.

She said this when Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning officials inspected the work.

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“We had challenges importing materials and mobilising contractors and consultants. Secondly, the design had to be changed; therefore, we had to redesign some structures to suit the ground conditions, which took us a bit of time, hence the delay.”

“More money is needed for the project. If all goes well, the project will be concluded later in 2025,” Chidzalema said.

Principal Secretary for Economic Planning and Development Winfold Masanjala said he was impressed with the progress.

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On request for extra funding, Masanjala said the government will engage all financiers and stakeholders in the project to map the way forward.

“There is a team of experts that will do a new design of the intake structure and design the cofferdam. Once those are done and they have come up with the bills of quantities and costing, then we will know the exact amount needed and we will engage the World Bank,” Masanjala said.

Through the SVTP, the government aims to boost agricultural production and increase productivity by helping farmers get a better harvest and healthier livestock and grow more high-value cash crops to sell at both domestic and international markets.

It is a 14-year programme, which started in 2018 and is expected to end in 2031.

The SVTP will irrigate 43,370 hectares of land by abstracting water from the Shire River at Kapichira and conveying it by gravity to the irrigable area in Chikwawa and Nsanje districts through canals. This will ensure a more consistent supply of water to farmlands throughout the year.

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