Although a quarter of a million people have been affected by the devastating flood that ripped through Malawi, government is optimistic to recovering economy through Irrigation Master Plan and Investment Framework.
Director of Irrigation Services Geoffrey Mamba has reiterated that the country’s ailing economy will soon be on track, the call was made during presentation of National Irrigation Master Plan (IMP) report in Lilongwe on Friday.
Mamba during the meeting told the journalist that there is light at the end of the tunnel if the country embraces opportunities the study has revealed.
“I want to assure you that our economy will soon be back on track if we embrace the allocation of water resources in the draft Water Resource Master Plan. At the rate this is going, we will be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel”
“The evidence is that IMP has managed to identify potential areas based on screening and selection process. IMP aims to reach a total irrigated area of 220, 000 hectares by 2035”, he said.
He also indicated that IMP will be implemented in three phases: Phase I (2015-2020), phase II (2021-2025) and phase III (2026-2035) comprising approximately 20, 000 hectares, 28, 500 hectares and 67, 500 hectares of new irrigation schemes in phase I, II and III respectively.
He however, confirms crop output drop due to several factors, among others erratic rains, drought, dry spells and absence of knowledge and skills to manage available waters for irrigation in Malawi.
Program Manager in Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Zachary Kasomekera said irrigation in Malawi is been hampered by less funding from the government.
“ You can imagine only 5% of the budget is allocated to the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development for its operations, this is a blow to development, this is why Malawi is not doing enough to venture into serous irrigation farming to solve the food deficit it faces year in, year out.
According to the report the overall goal of IMP is to contribute to the MGDS II objective “to continue reducing poverty through sustainable economic development and infrastructure development”. This will in the process improving food security and increase exports.
The total cost for IMP project is estimated to be around US$ 24 billion, and people have been warned not to disburse the fund as it in most development sectors