The Minister of Irrigation and Water Development, Charles Mchacha has called for concerted efforts towards agricultural commercialisation and revamping of irrigation schemes to sustain the country’s economic growth.
Mchacha made the call when he was commenting on President Arthur Peter Mutharika’s recorded State of the Nation Address (SONA) delivered in Parliament last Friday ahead of the 2020/21 budget presentation.
Among others, President Mutharika said his government intends to revamp Irrigation farming through various measures including the Shire Valley Transformation program currently under way in Chikwawa.
Concurring with President Mutharika, the Irrigation and Water Development Minister said it is high time Malawi had a vibrant sector producing various items for both domestic and international markets.
Mchacha said the DPP led government is determined to making Malawi a producing and exporting country and help farmers create wealth for themselves.
“In the 2019/20 fiscal year, we rolled out a number of projects aimed at empowering farmers across the country to creat wealth for themselves. The projects have registered huge impact in a number of districts.
“I can confidently say the projects have transformed lives of many Malawians regardless of political affiliation and we are looking forward to supporting and empowering farmers to ably come up with a vibrant agriculture sector.
“We want to move away from dependence on rain-fed agriculture to irrigated one to achieve our goals in as far as agricultural commercialisation is concerned,” said Mchacha.
He further said in the next financial year Mutharika’s administration is expected to rehabilitate close to five hundred boreholes that was damaged by fierce Cyclone Idai that hit the country last year.
“Apart from rehabilitating boreholes, the 2020/2021 financial year will also see the construction of new water supply system from Shire River under Blantyre Water Board,” disclosed Mchacha, who is also the Regional Governor (Southern Region) for ruling Democrat Progressive Party (DPP).
Members of Parliament are expected to start commenting on the President Mutharika’s SONA from Monday, 8 June up to Friday, 12 June 2020.
Early this year, Mutharika launched a $95 million Agricultural Commercialisation (Agcom) Project which seeks to transform the country’s smallholder agriculture from subsistence to commercial.
The Malawi described the project as a game-changer for Malawi saying it is the beginning of transformation of agriculture in the country.
Later in March, Mutharika launched a K175 billion Shire Valley Transformation Programme, which is not only aimed at scaling up irrigation farming but also increase farmers’ ability to move from subsistence to commercial farming.
First phase of the Shire Valley Transformation Programme targets to develop over 43,000 hectares of land and President Mutharika assured the nation, most importantly the farmers, funds for the project were already sourced and that by the end of Phase and 2 and Phase 3, the project will have put more than 100,000 hectares on irrigation.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :