Government appreciates the support from European Union (EU) in implementing irrigation development projects in Malawi, which is necessary for improved and sustained agricultural productivity, Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development Minister, Kondwani Nankhumwa, has said.
He was speaking in Ntakataka in Senior Chief Kachindamoto’s area, Dedza, on Thursday, August 15 2019, when he officially commissioned the Tchanga Irrigation Scheme that has been developed with support from European Union.
“Allow me to express my sincere gratitude to European Union and CISP for funding the construction of Tchanga Irrigation Scheme. I am aware that the EU is supporting my ministry under the KULIA Programme where the irrigation sector will be supported with Technical Assistance for feasibility studies and capacity building that will contribute to rapid and sustained irrigation development in a bid to improve food security and income earnings at household as well as national level,” said Nankhumwa.
He said on July 2 2019, it pleased President Peter Mutharika to commission the Bwanje Dam, for similar purposes, whose construction was also largely funded by the EU.
Nankhumwa said government is striving to provide a conducive policy environment for effective participation of development partners, the private sector, civil society as well as smallholder farmers.
The minister noted that irrigation in Malawi allows production of quality produce as the supply of water to the crops is controlled according to requirements. He said irrigation also allows crop diversification and production planning to suit market requirements.
“This is the reason why my ministry developed the Irrigation Master Plan and Investment Framework, which runs from the year 2015 to 2035. Government realizes the importance of irrigation with regard to economic growth and development of the country. The contribution of irrigated agriculture to national crop production has been increasing steadily as more land is put under irrigation and cropping cycles have increased.
“The contribution from tuber crops is even greater at 26% for sweet potatoes and 42% for potatoes. Irrigation is therefore making a significant contribution to food and nutrition security at both household and national levels. Since agriculture is the main occupation for the rural communities, irrigation provides a viable option for improved livelihoods,” said Nankhumwa.
He said the Mutharika administration has prioritized irrigation development as one of the key drivers of economic growth and development using local as well as external resources.
“Tchanga Irrigation Scheme is a clear demonstration of government’s commitment to developing irrigation with support from development partners. May I encourage the scheme beneficiaries to operate and maintain the scheme in a sustainable manner for profitable returns to investment.
”May I also encourage members of staff to support the scheme beneficiaries with the necessary extension services to allow them maximize production,” he said, urging private firms and entrepreneurs to seriously support the sustainable utilization of Tchanga Irrigation Scheme through supply of production inputs as well as buying of produce.
Before the official commissioning, Nakhumwa toured the scheme, including the gardens where he interacted with farmers.
Other speakers at the event at the event included president of the scheme, Vincent Abraham, Senior Chief Kachindamoto, Member of Parliament for Dedza East, Patrick Bandawe, Secretary for Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development Gray Nyandule Phiri, Ambassador and Head of Delegation of the European Union to Malawi, Sandra Piesen, Chairperson for Dedza District Council, Peter Gumbu, among others.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :