Chaponda says Malawi biggest irrigation scheme takes off after 2018: K28bn to shift from FISP

Minister of Agriculture George Chaponda has said the biggest irrigation scheme in southern Africa, the Shire Valley Irrigation Scheme will not be ready until after 2018.

Chaponda: Malawi to rely on irrigation for food security

Chaponda: Malawi to rely on irrigation for food security

He said there are several feasibility studies to be done before the establishment of the scheme which is expected to ease chronic food shortages in Malawi.

“His Excellency the President is expected to lay a foundation stone in 2018 before activities start,” he said referring to the 43000 ha scheme which will be full of canals coming in and out of Shire River, the biggest river in Malawi which takes its water mainly from Lake Malawi.

He said the first feasibility study starts in December 2016 followed by a detailed feasibility study in 2017 preceded by a donors conference.

Responding to concerns by an agriculture expert Dr. Rodrick Champiti that there were few extension workers in the Shire Valley for the project, Chaponda said the government will hire enough extension workers to meet the demand.

He said the government will ensure that the project is a huge success.

Shift  from FISP to irrigation

Meanwhile, government is planning to relocate K28 billion from the K68 billion budget of 2015-2016 located to Farm Input Subsidy Program (FISP) last year as the remainder goes to interventions aimed at boosting irrigation.

Minister of Agriculture Chaponda told traditional leaders from the southern region in an effort to map a viable and sustainable way out of the perennial food shortages the country is experiencing.

“The next FISP budget will be reduced and the money will be used to buy things like pumps, engines, modern treadle pumps that will be disbursed to smallholder farmers in an effort to improve food production among families which will translate into improved food national basket,” explained Chaponda.

Chaponda said the 285,000 smallholder farmers that the country has are going to benefit from 27 solar powered mega panels for water pumping as well as more efficient treadle pumps plus other accessories to venture into irrigation.

“By empowering these smallholder farmers, the country expects to realize 140 metric tones of maize through winter cropping,” added Chaponda.

Justifying the K28 billion switch from FISP to irrigation, Chaponda explained that in the face of the current climate change, investing in FISP much relies on rain which for the past two years has proven a loss hence the change of approach.

Chaponda extended by stating that the money reduction will translate into a slash of the number of beneficiaries from 1.5milion in the 2015-2016 agricultural years to 900 thousand in the next season.

The traditional leaders who represented the southern region during the meeting agreed with the plans saying for the past two years people have failed to realize enough from the rain fed agriculture despite FISP.

The leaders pledged their support by ensuring that their subordinates understand the concept of winter cropping as a lasting solution to the food shortage.

Traditional Authority Malemia of Nsanje added that for the lower Shire, the approach would enable the area to produce food that may even be enough for the nation at large.

“We have the Shire River and a high water table in general so we are best positioned to venture into irrigation and if seeds and fertilizers are provided for the same purpose, Malawi is likely to benefit,” explained Malemia.

The change in approach is coming at a time when Malawi for the past two consecutive years has failed to meet its food needs despite billions of Kwacha invested into the FISP which is aimed at improving farm produce.

This year 8.5 million Malawians are expected to suffer from hunger if no interventions are made and so far donations have already started coming in to save the suffering Malawians.

Government and other stakeholders are currently looking at viable and sustainable ways of mitigating the climate change impacts and irrigation continues topping the list.—Additional reporting by Ida Kazembe, Mana

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24 thoughts on “Chaponda says Malawi biggest irrigation scheme takes off after 2018: K28bn to shift from FISP”

  1. BUPE says:

    Its a great pity that in these days a government ca be talking about treadle pumps…~!
    kuli ma cenral Pivot pls govervenment…….!

  2. Insider says:

    I have had colleagues in the ministry who are water engineers. Feasibility studies were done during the colonial era and were done again under Dr Banda. The conclusion was that the Shire Valley could feed the nation under irrigation. But these docs are collecting dust at the Ministry.

    For Chaponda to say this will come in 2018, it is campaing gimmick as they did with Nsanje port to buy votes. We want irrigation to start not and not later.

    What does Pat Kaliati say now? A month ago she was frothing on radio that the FISP cannot be stopped.

  3. tim says:

    Malawians brace for hard time kwacha depreciation has started, Inflation is on its way, NGO, exporters are forcing kwacha deprecaition

  4. koma kumaneko says:

    Continue dreaming do you see it happening?

  5. Bumpy 2019 says:

    This is a good move but spread it to the central & north as well otherwise the bigger tribes will not come to the party.

  6. Greencardless Malawian says:


  7. BBC says:

    This bulldozer yaguga mano.

  8. Kenkkk says:

    The agriculturist Alan failed miserably to perform in his own professional ministry. But it seems this lawyer is far better than Alan, it just shows that sometimes an outsider does better than insiders who think they know everything but fail solve problems. Alan, being an agriculturist thought everything will be easy, falling into the very obvious sin of complacency. Good riddance.

    Now to make you perfect dr chaponda, take away your inherent nepotism and tribalism tendencies. Then you will be a good man. You have started very well in agriculture ministry, moving in the right direction and this is coming from me, an mcp stalwart. Keep on the good work before we start picking on you.

    By the way what irrigation plans or strategies do you have for the north?

    Irrigation is the future if we are to have sufficient good to feed ourselves. Irrigation will guarantee us nation-wide food self-sufficiency.

  9. IWE JOSHUA says:

    INDIA ???





  10. Bob Chiswe says:

    Chaponda is the absolute Presidential material Malawi needs because the guy is a performer and has an excellent track record having worked in key Ministries of Education, Foreign Affairs, Justice and now Agriculture. If you look at the other Ministers in cabinet now there is no one who can rival this as some have previously been unsuccessful businessmen or teachers. Chaponda”s profile beats all of them with his working experience in the UN. I do not come from his area but come from the north and feel he is the man to rule Malawi after APRM

  11. Mzakwacha Nixon, says:

    Chaponda,if u think that scheme will help u to win 2019,4get.Zabwino muyambe pano or else,DPP will go out.Also consider with a scheme people of Mzakwacha village(mphande VDC)in rumphi central.We have a good lunyina river there.Take this seriously.Mzakwacha Nixon,Pretoria.+27724922299.

  12. Sikusinja says:

    My friend Gwenembe # 1, that’s myopic thinking. If you want to build a house, don’t you plan? My take is that this was supposed to come out of PAC meeting and if the opposition were wise, they would have articulated this earlier on. It has taken one bulldozer Chaponda to unveil the plan. Bravo Chaponda Bravo APM.

  13. Chopwichopwi says:

    thats the way to go DPP. a kongilesi akumva mthupi kuwawa.

  14. KK says:

    A chaponda mkabichi, kumanga bridge kumeneko? kikikikkkkk mwamanga pa mchenga man, ulendo uno simuununkha 2018 sipamene inu mukupita ku mudzi kukakhala ma fumu tsopano kumatsegula kumanda adzukulu alowe kikkkkk!!!!!, Takuzindikilani mukatero idzakhale Campaign? mwagwanayotu imeneyo baba.

  15. Boja says:

    Farmer in the districts like Lilongwe where will they get water. Lilongwe river, Lingazi just to mention a few are drying out. Lilongwe water board can confirm it

  16. therere says:

    Gwenembe there must be feasibility study first, whoever will be ruling the country will continue with the project

  17. khwangwi says:

    This is a good move by government!

  18. popapo says:

    Irrigation should not leave out livestock to make use of the crop residues and vegetative matter. Chikhoswe you need nkhuku kukkolena, mbuzi etc.

  19. Nabetha says:

    KKKKKKKkkkkkkkkk! A country ruled by dogs. Come 2018 the same dogs will say the project will be implemented in 2022.

  20. Malawian says:

    The problem in Malawi is that we campaign throughout !. Why wait for 2018? We have had enough of Foundation stones!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  21. Gwenembe, APM ndi amuna komanso katundu. He will finish his first term in 2019 and go straight into his 2nd term. Opposition iphwisa, inya manyi ndipo iwe Aise, come cha m’ma 2017 kunka 18, mai, mai mai, Peter wanga ine!

  22. suspect zero37 says:

    kodi panopa sizingatheke chifukwa chiani? Muli busy kupanga ma plan a 2018 ndi chambatu chimene mukusutacho mzeru zikuchepa kwambiri vuto loika pa mipando madala a 1932 ndi zimenezi amalawi ndiye tivutika koopsa

  23. gwenembe says:

    Why not now you think you will be in government in 2018?

    1. APM says:

      And what if APM dies like his bro before that date ?

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