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Shire Valley project slows

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Construction of a canal under the first phase of the Shire Valley Transformation Project has slowed due to the prevailing Covid-19 pandemic.

The project which was launched in March this year is aimed at implementing irrigation schemes in Chikwawa and Nsanje districts.

Speaking during a media tour on Wednesday, Project Manager Aires Enosse, said the project could be delayed.

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He said this is because only five percent of the required equipment arrived in the country due to travel restrictions across the globe.

“There is some equipment we need to bring from Zambia, Mozambique and Zimbabwe but since the lockdown in some of these countries, we are not able to bring the equipment,” Enosse said.

In a separate interview, Shire Valley Transformation Project Coordinator, Sandram Mawelu, said supervising consultant is also failing to travel from Korea due to the virus.

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“Mobilization of staff is the challenge. Most of their staff is outside the country and they cannot come,” he said.

Minister of Irrigation, Charles Mchacha, said despite the challenges, he is impressed with strides registered this far.

He expressed optimism that the project will be done by the agreed deadlines and added that once it starts operating, it will improve food security in the country.

“I believe with the deadline we agreed to complete the first phase, we will manage it,” Mchacha said.

The first phase of the project will cover six kilometers and it is expected to be completed by September in 2022.

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