Vice President, Dr. Saulos Chilima has said the Shire Valley Transformation Program (SVTP) will turn around the agricultural sector by among others, promoting agro-processing.
Chilima, who is also Minister responsible for Economic Planning and Development, and Public Reforms, on Monday, toured some development projects in Chikwawa.
He commended progress at the irrigation project construction site, adding that it was in line with the country’s 2063 development agenda.
“One of the pillars in the 2063 agenda talks about agriculture commercialization, and the other one talks about industry. This is what the program intends to achieve,” Chilima said.
“It also intends to graduate smallholder farmers into commercial farmers, which is a plus, not just for the Lower Shire but for the country as a whole.
“It is very much on course as we have seen the construction of the intake and the six-kilometre long canal,” he said.
Chilima added that the project was going in the right direction as people have expressed concern that there is plenty of water that is wasted which could be used for irrigation.
He said government looks forward to the progress of the project. The veep then promised more visits to the site.
“The project involves a lot of work and it must be done properly so that we don’t have issues along the way,” he said.
SVTP Coordinator, Engineer Martin Chizalema said progress at the construction site was quite good, adding that all excavations of the canal have been completed.
“At the moment, 2.5 kilometers of the canal have been excavated and taken the shape of the canal as required,” Chizalema said.
“In total, we have 13 drainage works and these have been concreted and some of them are still being constructed from the bases,” said Chizalema, rating construction works at the site at 20 per cent.
Chizalema said by 2024, people will have started utilizing water from the canal after the first phase is completed.
Conduril Construction Company Site Manager, Joao Costa, said unlike early this year when COVID-19 had broken out, all the machinery was at the site now, proving that they would now move at full speed.
Once completed, the US$563 million (approximately K430 billion) SVTP is expected to increase agricultural productivity and commercialization for targeted households in the Shire Valley and to improve sustainable management and utilization of natural resources for over 223,000 households.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :