Malawi Government through the Irrigation, Rural Livelihood and Development (Irlad) project has handed over two irrigation schemes to farmers in Nkhata Bay and Rumphi districts.
The two schemes, Luju (Rumphi) and Ntchete (Nkhata Bay), were constructed with funding from World Bank. The schemes are among the several constructed and rehabilitated under Irlad project to empower farmers economically by embarking on bi -annual cropping. World Bank injected $112 million (about K50.4 billion) in the project and part of the money was for disaster relief.
Luju scheme has 51 hectares and will benefit 450 households while Ntchete has 40 hectares and will benefit 217 families
Speaking during the handover ceremony in Nkhata Bay on Wednesday, Irlad project engineer Crosby Mphande said the projects were demanded by the communities which gives hope that they will be fully utilised.
Said Mphande: “We were going to areas where people were already into irrigation farming but had no such facilities. They were using watering cans and other methods that were backbreaking. So all the projects are demand driven so we expect that the schemes will be fully utilised.”
However, he lamented the destruction of some irrigation schemes by floods in the Southern Region. He said with schemes in such a state, it will be hard for farmers to embark on irrigation and there will be need for rehabilitation.
Deputy director of irrigation services in the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, Winston Sataya said with the completion of the two projects and others, 103 000 hectares will be under irrigation farming.