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Project excites cotton farmers

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Gracian Lungu

Resumption of the cotton irrigation project under Nchalo Greenbelt Limited has excited cotton farmers in the country who believe it is a game-changer.

In his State of the Nation Address during the opening of the Budget Meeting of the Parliament, President Lazarus Chakwera said one way of fixing broken systems is through revitalisation of the Nchalo Greenbelt Limited, which is implementing a cotton irrigation project.

Chakwera said the project was being held back because of broken systems of government but it had resumed and was expected to be completed by 2024.

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He added that the project is worth K18 billion and targets 20,000 farmers under a 10,000 hectares of land.

Cotton Farmers Association of Malawi President Dickson Gundani said the project was long overdue.

Gundani added that the project would change cotton farming in the country because farmers would be able to produce more than once a year.

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“The cotton volume that Malawi produces is very low compared to the market demand. Therefore, I believe, once this project is completed, we will satisfy the demand and we are asking contractors to work with speed on this project,” he said.

Ministry of Agriculture Public Relations Officer Graciun Lungu said the government was in talks with potential cotton buyers who are demanding more than what the country offers.

“Already, we have Chatham Investment and the cotton they are looking for is more than what is being produced. Therefore this project will help Malawi meet the demand and help the country with foreign exchange generation,” he said.

Cotton used to be among top exports for Malawi but its contribution has been dwindling, which farmers attribute to the expensiveness of cotton seeds, among other factors.

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