Irrigation Development Project


  • Référence: P-MW-AA0-027
  • Date d'évaluation: 24/02/2014
  • Présentation au conseil: 28/05/2014
  • Statut: PipelinePIPE
  • Emplacement: Mulanje District


In order to achieve the stated objectives, Malawi Irrigation Development Project will be implemented within 3 years and will have three components, namely; infrastructure development, capacity building and project coordination.

Under infrastructure development, the project will focus on the development of Likhubula gravity fed Irrigation Scheme covering a total of 2,000 hectares of land. The source of water for the proposed scheme is Likhubula River, which is perennial and has adequate flows during both wet and dry months. This will involve review of the designs, construction of a diversion weir across Likhubula River to divert water to the scheme and construction of irrigation and drainage infrastructure. The Department of Irrigation will be responsible for reviewing the designs whereas supervision services and construction works of the irrigation infrastructure will be outsourced and contracted out respectively. The scheme beneficiaries will be expected to contribute their labour as well as locally available materials

Under the capacity building component, the project will focus on sensitization and mobilization of the targeted communities to help them understand their role in planning and implementation. It will also involve formation of water users association as the irrigation system will be managed by smallholder farmers who will be encouraged to grow high value crops to ensure profitability of their enterprises.

The project will be implemented and coordinated by the Department of Irrigation in the Ministry of Water Development and Irrigation. Component 3 will involve monitoring and evaluation, project management including supervision, annual workplans and budgeting including procurement plans, review meetings, environmental and social management activities and financial management including auditing.

The direct benefit to participating farmers will be improved food security and enhanced incomes through increased crop production and productivity. It is expected that the project will benefit about 7,000 farm families from 2,000 ha through irrigation farming. The beneficiaries will play an active role in planning and implementation of the project activities to promote ownership and ensure sustainability. The beneficiaries will therefore be organized into Water User Association (WUA) and empowered through trainings. The management of schemes by the organizations will be based upon a participatory approach and will be formalized on the basis of a Participatory Agreement. This agreement will specify land tenure arrangements as well as operation and maintenance responsibilities.


The main objective of the project is to contribute to reducing poverty and ensuring sustainable food security for beneficiaries at both household and national levels by increasing crop production and diversification. Specific Objectives of the project are:

(i) to improve crop production and productivity;

(ii) to increase food security at both household and national levels; and

(iii) to improve net farm incomes of the project beneficiaries.


The biggest challenge for most of the least developed countries (Malawi inclusive) is how to attain food self sufficiency for their growing population with limited water and land resources, due to high cost of importing food. Food self sufficiency can either be attained through rainfed or irrigated agriculture. However, due to unreliable rainfall distribution and persistent droughts, irrigated agriculture is the key in attaining food self sufficiency and also for eradicating extreme poverty.

Demand for agriculture produce in Malawi has been increasing steadily because of the absolute increase in population, even though due to fertilizer input subsidy programme coupled with good rains, maize production has been increasing. Unreliable rainfall combined with extended periods of dry spells adversely affect crop productivity and countrywide crop failures. The impacts of these are mainly felt by smallholder farmers themselves, who are generally among the poorest members of the population.

Hence, the need for increased irrigation development cannot be overemphasized as this will help in mitigating the effects of climate change and ensure availability of food and contribute to sustainable economic growth and development of the country. This proposal for the Malawi Irrigation Development Project therefore, has been prepared to address the issue of limited irrigation development that leads to the country being vulnerable to climate change.

The Malawi Irrigation Development Project is specifically targeting the development of Likhubula Gravity Fed Irrigation Scheme in Mulanje District. The design of this scheme has already been prepared by the Department of Irrigation. Gravity fed irrigation schemes have proved to be more sustainable in terms of operation and maintenance as they do not require energy (fuel and / or electricity) to harness water to the field. In this regard, gravity fed irrigation schemes are relatively cheaper to operate which translates to higher profitability of the enterprises.


The major project output will be the increase of area under irrigation by 2,000 hectares. This will contribute towards increased agricultural production and productivity and household incomes since the irrigation scheme will be able to produce more than one crop per year. It is, therefore, expected that the project will have the following outputs and outcomes: (A) Outputs:

(i) Increased production and productivity of high value crops;

(ii) Improved staff and farmer knowledge and skills in irrigation development and management; and

(iii) Organized marketing access. (B) Outcomes:

(i) Enhanced food security for about 7,000 farming families;

(ii) Increased income levels for 7,000 farming families; and

(iii) Increased water availability for more crop production and productivity.

Contacts clés

FATOYINBO Makanjuola Femi - OSAN1

Coûts estimatifs

UAC 15.000.000