President Peter Mutharika has launched a K175 bn Shire Valley Transformation Programme (SVTP) whose aim is to promote irrigation farming and increase farmers’ ability to move from subsistence to commercial farming.
According to President Mutharika, the programme demonstrates that Malawi is steadily moving away from dependence on rain-fed agriculture to irrigated agriculture.
In the first phase, the Shire Valley Transformation Programme will develop over 43,000 hectares of land, investing up to K175 billion.
Speaking when he officially commissioned the project in Chikwawa on Wednesday, Mutharika said funds for the project have already been sourced and that by the end of Phase 2 and Phase 3, the project will have put more than 100,000 hectares on irrigation.
Said Mutharika: “I have said before that we will bring agriculture revolution in Malawi through the Green Belt Initiative. The Shire Valley Transformation Irrigation Project shows the doubters that our Green Belt dream is working. With this programme, we are steadily moving from our dependence on rain-fed to irrigation agriculture.’
He added that once the irrigation programme in Chikwawa and Nsanje is completed, it will be the biggest agriculture irrigation scheme in Southern Africa.
“Under this programme, our farmers in the two districts will move from subsistence farming to commercial farming.
“The Shire Valley Transformation Programme will use gravity to supply water to the fields. This means that we will no longer worry about power to pump water to our farms. This will lead to low cost of production for our farmers to realize bigger profits,” he added.
The Malawi leader disclosed that this is one of government’s agriculture commercialisation programmes, whose aims are to develop the agriculture sector, promote farming at household level and improve the quality of life for all Malawians.
“We are implementing the Agriculture Commercialization Project, which comprise investing K71 billion into empowering Malawians to move from subsistence to commercial farming, the 111 million euros Kutukula Ulimi mMalawi programme in 10 districts across the country and the Agriculture Sector Wide Approach. In this programme, we are investing (US$72.3 million) to empower Malawians to diversify from tobacco and maize and resuscitate the banana industry,” he disclosed.
Government is also implementing the Programme for Rural Irrigation Development in which it is investing US$84.0 million dollarsnga, Zomba, Chiradzulu and Phalombe.
“We want development to start from rural communities to towns and cities. We want to take development to the people, instead of taking the people to development. I want rural areas to be centres of development in Malawi,” said Mutharika.
The programme is being supported by the World Bank, the African Development Bank, OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID), Nigerian Trust Fund and the Global Environmental Facility.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :