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Greenbelt Authority hands over Lweya Irrigation Scheme to contractors

By Monica Tambala

Lilongwe, March 4: Greenbelt Authority (GBA) has officially handed over a 700-hectare Lweya Irrigation Scheme in Nkhata Bay to SOS Construction Limited for rehabilitation and maintenance with the objective of developing and promoting climate smart commercial irrigation farming through infrastructure development.

The K561 million project has been allocated a period of four months (120 days) to completion and responds to government’s commitment of fulfilling the 2063 attainment of upper middle class economy goal through modern irrigation farming coupled with mechanization and precision technologies.

Speaking during the handover ceremony, the Authority’s board chairperson Counsel Wester Peter Kosamu referred to GBA’s mandate of championing major scale commercial irrigation farming as the driving force, aside government’s call to promote mega farms in the country.

“We cannot talk about mega farming without talking about irrigation; a mega farm does not only depend on rain fed agriculture. That is why today we are rehabilitating the irrigation scheme,” he said.

Kosamu further called on the farmers under Lweya scheme to use the opportunity wisely to boost their agricultural productivity and food security for their homes at this time where climate change is affecting agricultural efforts.

In his remarks, District Commissioner for Nkhata Bay, Rodgers Newa, said the scheme would go a long way in maximizing agriculture productivity and wealth creation in the district, as well as contribute to Malawi’s economic growth.

“It is quite exciting as we have come a long way in terms of negotiating with the community who were resisting government to rehabilitate this scheme but that is all water under the bridge.

“We cannot harvest three times in a year with rain fed agriculture; we need to enhance the irrigation schemes to ensure that even in winter, the communities or farmers can still grow their crops as well as diversify the crops they can grow in their gardens,” he said.

One of the community members who represented Senior Chief Matanda of Nkhata Bay expressed gratitude towards the rehabilitation of the scheme, which he said will ensure that all fields in the 700-hectare scheme are well watered even during winter season or El Nino weather.

The representative further advised his fellow community members to support the rehabilitation of the scheme by not vandalizing the property, as that can contribute to the failure of the scheme.

At the end of the handover ceremony, a five-year agreement between GBA and Lweya Water Users Association was signed to allow the two parties to work together.

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