Implementing Agency: MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE & FOOD SECURITY
Location: Southern Malawi
The major objective of the Lower Shire Valley Irrigation Project is to exploit the high irrigation potential of the Valley through the development of gravity-fed irrigation from the Shire River, expanding coverage and providing complementary infrastructure and services in order to increase agriculture production and farm-based incomes hence ensuring food security and poverty reduction. The implementation of this project will result in the improvement of standards of living of the c ommunity through diversification and cropping intensity of 123 per cent, and transformation of subsistence agriculture into sustainable market oriented production
The project comprises 5 main components: (a) Irrigation Facilities and Structures - intake and head works, the irrigation distribution system (feeder canal, north junction pipe and south junction canal, main canal, branch canals, tertiary and quaternary irrigation networks, drainage networks, road network and auxiliary facilities); b) Rural Infrastructure development - , Infrastructure Development, Road Network: Domestic Water Supply and Sanitation, Telecommunication, Schools, Health Facilities c) Agricultural Production Development- Farm Size and Cropping Patterns, Crop Selection Criteria, Crop Protection, Livestock Development, Fisheries Development: , d) Agro-Processing Facilities e) Project Management
The direct beneficiaries of this project are the communities that live in the areas targeted in this project i.e. in the Shire Valley of Southern Malawi. These include the smallholder farmers within the project area; ILLOVO; the entrepreneurs, particularly traders, millers, transporters and artisans, who will find gainful business ventures as a result of project implementation; and the presently unemployed population which will benefit from the expansion of job opportunities created by the project. The Shire Valley Irrigation Project management team and the Government of Malawi will also benefit from these interventions that will result into reduced costs of maintenance of the water canals. The various NGOs, CBOs, ADD staff as well as Assembly staff will get support to implement activities in this area.
The Agricultural Sector is operating in an environment that is full of challenges. The country experiences recurrent food shortages and a dwindling export base. Since the late 1980s, the food system has been considerably weakened. Crop failures have necessitated substantial commercial grain imports. Food aid has also been justified to provide free access to food for the poorest households. The major challenges for irrigation development include Low levels of irrigation culture among the rural communities; Limited crop diversification; Inappropriate irrigation technologies; Inadequate markets for farm produce; Poor land use practices; High development and farm input costs; and Limited agro-processing and storage facilities. The implementation of the Shire Valley Development Project would boost the commodities market in the country and improve agricultural practices with the involvement of private sector in agro-processing and other agricultural practices.