The Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Sam Kawale on Tuesday launched the Chipofya Irrigation Scheme in the area of Paramount Chief Chikulamayembe in Rumphi.
The launch marks the beginning for the construction of the K11.5 billion irrigation scheme that PRIDE (Programme for Rural Irrigation Development) is implementing.
PRIDE falls under the Department of Irrigation in the Ministry of Agriculture.
Speaking when he launched the scheme in Chipofya Village, in the area of Paramount Chief Chikulamayembe, Hon. Kawale reiterated government’s desire to promote irrigation farming.
Hon. Kawale said it was for this reason that more than K100 billion Kwacha had been allocated for agriculture productivity, and that a large amount of the figure would go to irrigation.
He said the money would be used for rehabilitation and maintenance of existing irrigation schemes, as well as construction of new ones.
Hon. Kawale in his speech also assured farmers that his Ministry would assist in linking them to good markets to ensure better prices for their crops.
He also told farmers to practice commercial farming, saying it was time they considered farming as business.
Earlier in their remarks, the Member of Parliament for Rumphi West, Hon. Yona Mkandawire and Paramount Chief Chikulamayembe, thanked government for keeping its word to build the scheme.
Hon. Mkandaiwre and Paramount Chief Chikulamayembe said they had all along been waiting for construction work to start, adding that the scheme would benefit many people in the district.
And Water Users Association (WUA) president, Robert Gondwe, also expressed gratitude to government for the development, saying the scheme would help thousands of people.
“This scheme will improve people’s lives,” Gondwe said, and assured the Minister that they would work together with the contractor up to the completion of the scheme.
Chipofya Irrigation Scheme covers 983 hectares and is expected to benefit more than 200,000 people.
One of PRIDE’s objectives is to develop new irrigation schemes to enable smallholder farmers to transition from low to high value crops and from subsistence to commercial farming.
The Malawi Government and International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) are financing PRIDE.