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European Union provides K20 billion for irrigation

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The European Union (EU) on Wednesday launched EU support to the development of six medium-scale irrigation schemes to the tune of 25 million Euro (K20 billion) that would benefit nearly 45,000 households.

This was one of a number of events to mark the EU Climate Diplomacy Week where the EU aims to highlight how it is helping countries like Malawi in mitigating and adapting to climate change.

Speaking during the launch of the project at Tachanga Irrigation Scheme in Dedza, EU Head of Delegation to Malawi, Marchel Gerrmann, said the EU will support the development of 2,100 hectares of irrigation schemes across the country.

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Gerrmann said irrigation farming should be part of a whole value chain approach, from production to access to market. The project will include construction of large dams in Dedza.

“I strongly believe that these projects will improve food and nutrition security, will generate more income and help farmers grow additional crops,” Gerrmann said.

“I would like to bring to your attention three important messages: Firstly, that the EU is committed to fighting climate change, and in particular to help farmers respond to climate change; secondly, that irrigation investment should be part of a holistic approach to agriculture and thirdly, that attracting private sector is critical to develop agriculture and irrigation project,” he said.

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The schemes expected to be developed and expanded are Malanda in Nkhata Bay, Chilingali in Nkhotakota, Mtete in Lilongwe, Lifuwu in Salima, Tchanga in Dedza and Phata in Chikwawa.

Agriculture Minister, George Chaponda, said this initiative of medium scheme is very important to the country for food security as the country has been experiencing dry spells for the past years.

“It complements government’s efforts to promote irrigation farming in view of climatic changes as we are aware that this country experienced erratic weather situation,” he said.

Chaponda said as government, they have decided to have a long-and medium-term solutions to have irrigation farming and not rely on rain-fed farming.

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