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Long wait for rice project

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Four years after the Central Government commissioned rice milling and processing machines at Mphinga Cooperative Scheme in Karonga District, farmers are yet to start reaping from the project as machines are not functioning.

This is because the machines have not been connected to the national power grid since they were planted in 2018.

The scheme has over 500 rice farmers who claim to have spent about K4.5 million on two security guards and, yet, the machines are not being used.

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Mphinga Cooperative Scheme Chairperson John Boris Nyirenda told officials from the Presidential Delivery Unit (PDU) and Ministry of Agriculture last week that the initiative was under Smallholder Irrigation and Value-Added Project.

“We have been spending money on security guards, who look after machines that are not working,” he said.

Director of Irrigation in the Ministry of Agriculture Geoffrey Mamba assured the farmers that a taskforce had been established to address the problem.

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Mamba said a preliminary assessment indicated that Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi did not connect the plant to the national electricity grid because incompatible cables were used.

PDU Director David Ng’ambi concurred with Mamba, saying there would be progress on the project

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