Agriculture Development Programme - ISP


  • Reference: P-MW-AAA-004
  • Approval date: 09/09/2009
  • Start date: 09/09/2010
  • Appraisal Date: 06/04/2009
  • Status: OngoingOnGo
  • Location: Southern Province


The project comprises three technical components and a management and coordination component. The project will be implemented over a five-year period.

Component I: Sustainable land and water management with two sub-components; infrastructure development and crop development.

Infrastructure development: This sub-component will support sugar-cane development under an outgrower arrangement in Dwangwa, Salima ADD and the development of small-scale irrigation schemes in Blantyre and Shire Valley ADDs. Two areas have been identified for sugar-cane development in Dwangwa. These are the Luwaladzi (760ha) and Bua East (460ha) sites. The main component of the irrigation system will comprise a central pivot system that will be supplied with water pumped by electricity or stationary and mobile diesel engines. The water infrastructure and the distribution and drainage network will consist of a total of 4 kilometers of canals, 8 lifting plants and 20 units of centre pivot irrigation equipment with variable land area coverage to suit the land terrain. The project will also construct two pumping stations for lifting plants, and expand national electricity network by constructing an additional 10km power line to bring power to the pumping stations. Furthermore, tube wells and ancillary structures will be constructed to upgrade water supply to the farmers, just as sanitation will be improved by the construction of latrines in farmer communities. The Dwangwa Cane Growers Trust will operate and maintain the equipment.

In addition, the project will develop 7 small-scale irrigation schemes in the Blantyre and Shire Valley ADD. The selected sites are of medium and large sizes ranging from 28.5 ha to 500 ha for a total of 1,100 ha. A number of sites especially those in the Shire Valley have been designed up to tendering under the Smallholder Irrigation Project (ShIP) but were not developed due lack of funds. All the sites in Shire Valley will use motorized pumps to lift water to seven (7) night reservoirs that will be used to release water for surface irrigation by gravity through a network of elevated canals (15.0 km) and feeders (37.0 km) then siphoned to the irrigated fields. The project will purchase fifteen (15) pumps and construct 7.0 kms of PVC pipelines. To avoid water logging and soil salinity, 19.0 kms of drains will be constructed in all sites. The site in Blantyre, in Neno districts will be irrigated by a branch canal (10km) from the Shire River by gravity where feeders (25km) will convey water to the site and farmers will use treadle pumps to pump water into the fields. Drains (25km) will also be constructed to reduce soil salinity and avoid water logging especially during the rainy season.

Crop development: This sub-component will provide initial support for crop development by providing start-up inputs, namely seeds, fertilizer, chemicals and energy for irrigation development. In addition to a minimal fee for operations and Maintenance (O&M), the beneficiaries will be expected to pay back the cost of the inputs into a revolving scheme to be managed by the farmers. A service provider will be recruited to train the farmers and set up the revolving fund.

Component II: Market infrastructure and linkages

This component will involve the construction of basic market platforms with appropriate storage facilities. A total of thirteen (13) market platforms will be constructed in the targeted sites for irrigation development in both Blantyre and Shire Valley ADDs. The Project will also construct a market depot in Lilongwe which will serve as a collection and storage facility to cater for all irrigation schemes under the current and previous Bank projects. To facilitate effective market participation by farmers, the project will recruit competitively a service provider to organize farmers into appropriate groups and train then. The service provider will also carry out market research and advice farmers on opportunities for value addition and seek opportunities for long-term market arrangements.

Component III: Capacity building

Under this component, the project will support activities oriented towards meeting skill needs for the delivery of project activities, as well as longer term needs for capacity building. The project will provide resources for training of at least 3150 farmers on agronomy, crop management, marketing and agro-processing, and other aspects of irrigation farming including operation of centre pivots and maintenance of irrigation infrastructure. At least 30% of the farmers will be women. A total of 45 (at least 15 women) members of staff from the three participating ADDs will be trained in agronomy and irrigation management. These will be mainly short-term training. As part of capacity building, the project will also support a Gender Analysis, which will be completed within 6 months of project implementation, whose results will be used for project implementation.

Component IV: Project management and coordination

This will essentially be logistical and technical support of the existing ADP structures for project management. No separate entity will be established for this project. To complement the existing capacity, the project will provide supplementary support to the ADP secretariat in the form of technical assistance (TA) for M&E and provide resources to facilitate the operation of the technical Working Committee on Land and Water Resources management. To reinforce the capacity at the ADDs, the project will support the cost of a Field Facilitator to each of the participating ADDs. The Field Facilitator will assist the Programme Managers in the ADDs in the coordination of the project activities. The Project will in addition provide resources for the purchase of computers, office equipment and furniture and for transportation and operation expenses at the ADD level.


This project will support ADP activities mainly under the third focus area, sustainable land and water management. The specific objectives of the project are:

(i) increasing household income and food security

(ii) Increasing access to national and regional markets by smallholder farmers; and

(iii) enhancing the capacity of farmers and ministry staff in skills and knowledge.


The Government of Malawi recognizes the need to enhance the productivity of smallholder farmers as a means for achieving the agricultural growth and poverty alleviation goals of the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy (MGDS) being implemented from 2006 to 2011. The MGDS has targeted agriculture as a driver of economic growth and recognizes that food security is a pre-requisite for economic growth and poverty alleviation. Indeed, the sector contributes 38% of gross domestic product (GDP), and provides a livelihood for 85% of the population. The ADP is being formulated as the strategy for achieving the agricultural goals in MGDS. The proposed project will support ADP goals in enhancing the capacity of smallholders by improving productivity and strengthening food security. The project is consistent with CAADP Pillar 2, focusing on improvement in infrastructure and trade related capacities and is in support of the Banks Pillar 1 of the CSP (2005-2009) which is on expanding rural infrastructure. The project is also in line with the Banks mid-term strategy that focuses on support for agriculture infrastructure.

A major factor affecting productivity in the smallholder sector in Malawi is the over reliance on rain-fed agriculture. Although the country has 3 million hectares of agricultural cultivable land, more than 99% of this land remains under rain-fed cultivation. The rain-fed nature of smallholder farming makes agricultural production prone to adverse weather conditions such as droughts and floods. This is bound to worsen with the current onslaught of climate change. It is therefore not surprising that GoM together with its development partners is putting a lot of emphasis on irrigation development. Indeed this is a major pillar of the ADP. Other sector constraints include poor access to agricultural inputs, poor agricultural infrastructure, limited opportunities for marketing and value-addition, low adoption of improved technologies, including irrigation, HIV/AIDS and gross gender imbalance. This project thus seeks to support the Malawi efforts in increasing water use efficiency and strengthening irrigation potentials in order to increase farmers' income and enhance food security, in addition to mitigating against the effects of climate change. To ensure that the increased output translates to incomes, the project will also support market development to broaden market participation of the smallholders and ensure value addition.

The Bank's experience in irrigation development in the country has so far been very encouraging as indicated in the latest country portfolio review of 2008. For instance, the Bank funded Smallholder Irrigation Outgrower Sugarcane Production Project has reported yield increases from 80 metric tones per hectare in 2005 to 130 metric tones per hectare in 2007. Over the same period, farmers' net incomes have increased from US$ 700 per hectare to US$ 1,600 per hectare. In the Smallholder Irrigation Project, also funded by the Bank, maize yields have increased from 1 tone per hectare to about 4.5 tones per hectare. This project will thus seek to up-scale some of the achievements so far gained in the irrigation sub-sector in the country, while avoiding past mistakes. Among the major lessons to be taken on board is the need for increased selectivity and more realistic designs, given the capacity constraints in the country.

The rationale of the project is, therefore the need to support smallholder farmers in improving their productivity in order to contribute to improved farm income and food security. The project responds to the reality of agricultural production in Malawi, that is the over-reliance by smallholders farmers on rain-fed agriculture and the need to sustain and up-scale achievements so far realized in irrigation development in the country. This is to be done by supporting the development of irrigation infrastructure in different locations in the country.


The social impact of the proposed project is expected to be positive. The project will lead to increased food security for a significant proportion of smallholder families within the project area and will generate foreign exchange for the country. Female-headed households who comprise a significant percentage of households within the project area, and are more likely to be food insecure than other households, will benefit from the project activities. The project will also have far reaching welfare benefits for a wide range of other stakeholders including youth, traders, consumers, importers, transporters, etc. The project will create both direct and indirect employment to vendors on the one hand and suppliers of goods and services on the other hand, with multiplier effects on both sides. Improved markets will also facilitate increased income opportunities for the poor, women, and other vulnerable groups, thereby creating growth and employment. Market development will significantly contribute towards stimulating growth in agricultural production in the surrounding areas.

Key contacts

KISYOMBE Vinda Highson Lutamyo - OSAN1


Finance source Amount
ADFUAC 15,000,000
GovernmentUAC 2,010,000
TotalUAC 17,010,000