President Prof Peter Mutharika has bemoaned the country’s 300,000 hectares of unexploited land for irrigation farming which has adverse effects on the country’s economy and food security.
He made the disclosure at Bingu International Convention Centre, Wednesday, where he presided over the official launch of the National Agricultural Policy (NAP) which was launched concurrently with the National Irrigation Policy (NIP).
According to Mutharika; “This country can irrigate up to about 408,000 hectares of which we have only developed 108,000 hectares for irrigation which reflects only 26 per cent of our exploited irrigation potential.
“The question is: why? We needed a comprehensive policy for irrigation. We needed to invest in irrigation.”
The President hailed irrigation policy saying would address spatial and temporal water shortages and deal with customary land issues that affect irrigation.
He said the policy would deal with the operation and maintenance of irrigation infrastructure.
Mutharika has since hailed the joint launch of the two policies as a revolution in Malawi’s agriculture, a u-turn which he said every Malawian farmer should embrace.
Speaking on behalf of Malawi’s development partners, United States Ambassador to Malawi, Virginia Palmer hailed Malawi for the recently passed land Bills to which she referred as a huge step towards the country’s agricultural development.
She appreciated the policies as key to breaking the cycle of the country’s food insecurity, and assured continued support from the development partners in the implementation of the policies.
Chief Executive Officer for Farmers Union of Malawi, Prince Kapondamganga challenged government and respective players on the policies to ensure practical translation of the policies while urging Government and relevant stakeholders to keep pushing for key pro-development policies.