The World Bank has granted US$166 million to boost Malawi’s agricultural productivity through irrigation, fostering commercialisation, and improving natural resource management
The World Bank has granted US$166 million to boost Malawi’s agricultural productivity through irrigation, fostering commercialisation, and improving natural resource management.
World Bank funding for the first phase of the Shire Valley Transformation Program (SVTP-I) was announced on October 18, 2017.
It consists of a $160 million credit from the World Bank arm, the International Development Association (IDA), and $5.59 million from the financial organisation, the Global Environment Facility Trust Fund.
SVTP-I will cover the Chikwawa – Nsanje areas of the Shire Valley and will involve three phases between 2017-2031, which will provide irrigation to more than 40,000 hectares by gravity water delivery and end the need for electricity to pump water from the Shire River.
This will boost agricultural production, enable sustainable management of natural resources such as wetlands and protected areas, provide access to drinking water, and increase tourism potential.
The programme aims to deliver sustainable irrigation services and support in aquaculture, agriculture and livestock production.
It will also help farmers to secure land and water tenure and develop commercial farming.
Farmers will receive advice on farm organisation, land administration, and marketing and financial services.
More opportunities for agro-processing operations will also be created by supporting crop diversification, as currently the Shire Valley produces mostly sugar cane.
The World Bank estimates that tackling the challenges of drought and flooding in the region will lead to significant increases in income levels for beneficiary households.
SVTP-I will be led by the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation, and Water Development, along with other partners and agencies, and is scheduled to end in 2023.
Valens Mwumvaneza, World Bank Acting Country Manager for Malawi, said: “We trust that through this project, Malawi’s agriculture will go beyond the food security agenda to commercial agricultural investments that will sustainably pull people out of poverty.”
Joseph Mwanamvekha, Malawi’s Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation, and Water Development, said: “The beauty of the whole program is that it will engage the smallholder farmers to modernize and commercialize agriculture. We ultimately anticipate a half billion-dollar benefit to the economy.”