The government jointly with the World Bank, Africa Development Bank and the Global Environmental Facility has invested over $500 million in an irrigation programme that targets to produce for export through value addition.
The project being implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development falls under the Shire Valley Transformation Programme and targets Chikwawa and Nsanje districts in the first phase.
The project will run in three phases from 2018 to 2031.
On Friday, the ministry organised an interface with Members of Parliament in Dedza to brief them on the progress of the project.
The ministry’s Director of Irrigation Services, Geoffrey Mamba, said the objective of the programme is to improve management and utilisation of natural resources in a sustainable way to increase agricultural productivity and commercialisation for targeted households in the Shire Valley.
He said the project also aims at addressing food shortages in the two districts as they are prone to floods and drought.
“Over and above that, we would like to encourage irrigation farming in order to increase crop production that will enable Malawi to meet its export demand. As you are aware, the government would like to reduce imports and this is one of the solutions to achieve the export target,” Mamba said.
He further said through increased exports of various agriculture produce, Malawi is likely to achieve economic stability.
Agriculture and Irrigation Commi t tee of Par l iament Chairperson, Joseph Chidanti- Malunga, said it is encouraging that the government has engaged the parliamentarians from the onset of the programme which will help in the build-up and success of the project.
He said the project will transform the lives of Malawians.
“We are excited that the project will transform the lives of Malawians and apart from that, this is the biggest irrigation investment not only in Malawi but the whole region, hence we pledge our support of the project in Parliament,” he said.
Chikwawa West parliamentarian, Kennedy Maluwa, said the project is viable and will contribute positively towards economic growth.
He said as Members of Parliament, they will make sure that their constituents hold on to their land as the project aims to improve their living standards.