As one way of making Malawi a predominantly producing and exporting country Malawi leader His Excellency Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika will open Bwanje Irrigation Dam in Dedza, which will be the biggest dam in the SADC region and is expected to store sufficient water for Irrigation purposes in both rainy and dry season.
During the launch of the transformative project President Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika said the construction of the dam is part of his great vision of making Malawi a predominantly producing and exporting country.
On this point Professor Mutharika added that the construction of the dam is also part of the green belt initiative that will see farmers growing crops the whole year without depending on rain
Said Mutharika: “This dam is part of our great vision for this country. Our vision is to make Malawi a predominantly producing and exporting country. We want to stop being a predominantly importing and consuming country.
“For us to turn Malawi into a producing and exporting country, we need to develop our agriculture sector. Therefore, our goal is to increase productivity and value addition. By increasing productivity and value addition industries, we create more and more jobs for our people. But the problem has been our water management and irrigation system. For us to develop our agricultural sector, we need to develop our irrigation.
“The country’s agriculture is mostly rain-fed. Therefore, our agriculture is vulnerable to climate change. When rain fails, our crops fail. This is the situation my Government wants to change.”
The Malawi leader said the country has made significant steps in the irrigation sectors such as the updating of national irrigation policy and huge investment in the production of power, which he said is a vital component for irrigation.
He said Government prioritises irrigation development as a critical strategy for improving agricultural productivity for both subsistence and commercial purposes and that the construction of Bwanje Dam is part of the fulfillment of a broader irrigation strategy.
The European Union (EU) is financing the construction work to the tune of 30million Euros.
The 40 metre-high Bwanje Dam will supply water to an existing 800-hectare irrigation scheme. The Scheme was established in 1999 by the Japanese Government. It is the largest smallholder irrigation scheme in the Malawi. The dam is 40 metres high and approximately 150metres long with a storage capacity of 5.6m cubic litres.