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The African Development Bank has approved a US$ 35 million loan for the Shire Valley Transformation Program - Phase 1 (SVTP-1), aimed at reducing poverty through the development of agricultural value chain and climate adaptation mechanisms.
The Shire Valley Transformation Project will provide access to gravity fed irrigation and drainage services to the Chikwawa and Nsanje Districts south of Malawi. It will also secure land tenure for smallholder farmers and strengthen management of wetlands and protected areas.
The project will provide infrastructure and enabling environment to scale up the deployment of agricultural technologies in line with the Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) framework to increase agricultural productivity and value addition.
Malawi’s agriculture sector, though accounting for about 90% of exports, grapples with several challenges, including adverse weather conditions, poor and unimproved crop varieties, increasing population pressure on land, and technology barriers. The sector’s value chain development is also constrained.
“The Shire Valley Transformation Project will be critical to providing solutions to the challenges that beset agriculture, where more than 80% of farmers are smallholders”, said Kapil Kapoor, Director General, Southern Africa Regional Development and Business Delivery Office. “With the number of farmers involved, the project will have both direct and indirect impacts on their livelihoods and improve agricultural productivity”.
The project will benefit about 56,000 smallholder farm families. About 30% of the project beneficiaries are women headed household.
The African Development Bank is partnering with the World Bank and Government to develop the project in a very transformational manner, which would change the way agricultural development takes place in Malawi and other Sub-Saharan countries.
The African Development Bank Group is committed to supporting the Malawi government in its efforts to build a productive, competitive and resilient nation. The project aligns with Malawi’s development agenda contained in the Third Malawi Growth and Development Strategy (MGDS III) and Malawi’s Vision 2020.
It also aligns with the Bank’s ‘High 5’ agenda, specifically “Feed Africa”, “Light Africa”, and “Improve the quality of life for the people of Africa”.