Government seeks funds for solar irrigation plants
Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development has said government is currently sourcing funds to construct solar-powered irrigation plants to respond to the increasing demand for food.
Minister responsible, Kondwani Nankhumwa, disclosed this during the handover ceremony of the pilot solar-powered irrigation and milling plant at Mikolongwe Veterinary Station in Chiradzulu.
The plant has been constructed by a Chinese company, Hebei Pingle Flour Group Company, and has been handed over to the government of Malawi.
“We have discovered that apart from the irrigation dams, we need to come up with new technology, as we have seen today at Mikolongwe.
“For us to go into solar-powered irrigation, we needed to come up with a pilot project first, and we have successfully implemented it and we are looking forward to rolling it out to the rest of the country,” Nankhumwa said.
He added that the country is facing a climate change challenge that is threatening food and feed security and that employing climates-smart technologies can improve food, nutrition and income security especially for smallholder farmers.
The Mikolongwe plant has modern installed irrigation system and a maize mill, both powered by solar energy.
Apart from providing food to people and livestock, the irrigation and milling plant will also help create jobs for people living near the place.
Chairman of Hebei Pingle Flour Machinery Group Company, Li Jian Jun, said his company is ready to construct more plants across the country.
He commended the Ministry of Agriculture for the good relationship shown throughout the period that the company has been working on the project.
Mathews Kasanda is a journalist who holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from University of Malawi (The Polytechnic).
In 2015, Media Institute of Southern Africa awarded him the Best Print Media Education Journalist of the Year accolade.
He joined Times Group Newsroom in September 2019.