18 January 2018
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Thursday, 14 December 2017 12:54

House approves K117 bn loan bill to transform Malawi’s agricultural productivity

Written by  Lily Kampani
Gondwe tabled the bill Gondwe tabled the bill File photo

 

Lilongwe, December 14, 2017: Members of Parliament on Tuesday passed a K117 billion Loan Authorization Bill, green-lighting the implementation of the first phase of the Shire Valley Transformation Project covering Chikwawa- Nsanje areas from 2017 to 2023.

In tabling the Bill, Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development, Goodall Gondwe said overall, the project will grant access to reliable irrigation and drainage systems, strengthen management of wetlands and secure land tenure for small holder farmers in the shire valley.

“Climate change resilience irrigation is a huge priority in our development plan and this project is a fine example of government following through with its programs,” explained Gondwe.

The Finance Minister told parliament the loan will help transform the country by promoting agricultural productivity through irrigation, commercialization, improving management of natural resources and land tenure use for farmer enterprises in the Shire Valley.  

“Government will ensure it equips smallholder farmers with production and marketing skills, access to financial services as well as establishing reliable markets, as transformation of commercialization agriculture would not go far without the development of markets,” stated Gondwe.

Minister of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development who is also MP for Nsanje Central, Francis Lazalo Kasaila said Shire Valley is a commercial area with great potential in contributing to the development of Malawi’s economy.

He said people of his area will greatly benefit from the project.

According to Nsanje South West MP, Dr Joseph Chidanti Malunga, after completion, the project will be the largest irrigation system in the SADC Region.

The MP went on to urge his fellow parliamentarians to speed up the passing of the land bill, saying it had a bearing on the project.

The project implementation will be led by the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation, and Water Development with other partners and agencies in three phases over a 14-year period at a total cost of $575 million (about K422.6 billion) funded through loans from the World Bank, African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Malawi Government.   

 

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