World Bank and the African Development Bank (AfDB) have together pumped in US$210 million to fund the largest irrigation scheme in southern Africa, the Shire River Irrigation scheme.
Ministry of Agriculture community development specialist Stanley Khaira said the feasibility study of the project is expected to finish in December and the whole project will take off in 2018.
“This will be the first and biggest irrigation scheme in southern Africa,” said Khaira.
The irrigation scheme comes at a time when Malawi is facing perennial food shortages due to El Nino powered drought in the southern region of Malawi where the scheme is.
President Peter Mutharika on Thursday said Agriculture minister George Chaponda would be unveiling the multibillion kwacha irrigation scheme soon.
Khaira said the scheme is expected to benefit over 100, 000 households from Chikhwawa and Nsanje after the 146 kilometre canal is finished.
He said parliament is expected to approve the project in June this year.
Khaila said approximately the first phase of the project will cost 340 million United States (US) Dollars and shall cover 21,000 hectares of land.
He said: “Of the said amount, 260 million US dollars has already been pledged and the project is receiving overwhelming support from both in and outside Malawi.
“It is expected that the whole project both phase one and two will cost 600,000 million US dollars but the actual figure will be known when the feasibility study is completed.”
Khaila further said World Bank has pledged to support the project with 160 million US dollars, while African Development Bank (AFDB) will bankroll over 40 million US dollars.
“Malawi government has already paid 70 thousand Euros in preparation for the project and by December 2016 the feasibility study will be completed.
“This is a gravity fed irrigation project and the water will be channeled from Kapichira dam here in Chikwawa district,” he added.
He said the whole project will take up 42.5 hectares of land and urged people of Nsanje and Chikwawa not to sell off their land as the government want to utilize it for irrigation.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :