Malawi is negotiating for an extension of the K21 billion ($29 million) Rural Livelihoods and Economic Enhancement Programme (Rleep) following the success of the project touted to have transformed beneficiary rural communities.
Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Kondwani Nakhumwa, speaking yesterday during a tour of Rleep projects in Chitipa, Karonga and Rumphi districts, said government has noted that the programme was changing people’s lives in the beneficiary districts; hence, the wish to extend it to other areas.
He said: “It is a good project as far as rural development is concerned. We cannot be talking of rural development without promoting rural masses’ livelihood.”
Nankhumwa encouraged beneficiaries to utilise extension workers who have the expertise in promoting farming.
The programme, being implemented in 11 of the country’s 28 districts, is expected to phase out in December 2017. Rleep is funded by International Fund for Agriculture Development (Ifad) and Opec Fund for International Development (Ofid) to the tune of $29 million. Ifad pumped in $19 million (about K13.8 billion) while Ofid injected $10 million (about K7.3 billion).
A number of projects, including beef production, bee farming and crop production, rehabilitation of roads and construction of bridges and deep tanks were rolled out to improve the livelihood of rural masses. The current project is targetting 24 000 households with different interventions.
Rleep national programme director Dixon Ngwende said extending the project with four years can benefit more people.
He said the donors were willing to extend the programme if government is interested.