The Malawi Government says the construction of the Utale Irrigation scheme in Balaka district, which is under the K3.2 billion Malawi Resilience and Disaster Risk Management Project (MRDRMP), has been completed.
This is according to Francis Wadi who is the principal Irrigation engineer at the department of agriculture and a technical team member for MRDRDMP project who said engineers are through with construction works at the site.
Wadi said MRDRMP project which is financed by World Bank financed and pegged at K3.2 billion, is an extension of Malawi Drought Recovery and Resilience Project (MDRRP) which came effective in February 2017.
He said the multibillion project is focusing on recovery of livelihoods and infrastructure in affected areas and strengthen capacity for flood and drought risk management and says the scheme is part of 12 water supply system schemes government targets to rehabilitate across the country.
The principal Irrigation engineer indicated that despite encountering natural disasters including Cyclone Ana which disturbed the progress of the works at the site, the scheme has fully been constructed and a certain part is already in use.
“At this time, we have completed 100% of the construction works that was planned to be based at the scheme despite encountering natural disaster constraint that impacted our operations and over 57 hectares out of 200 hectares which was targeted on the site was washed away by Cyclone Ana.
“Currently the scheme is in use with 25 hectares already cultivated and other parts of the scheme is under preparations, by the end of this month it will be fully completed.” said Wadi.
He said they have so far trained a number of farmers on sustainable scheme management so as to help them directly benefit from the achieved 110 hectares out of projected 200 hectares.
Wadi further reported that farmers were also taken on various educational trips to learn from their counterparts in other areas, and the farmers have also embarked on joint ventures which will facilitate smooth marketing of their produce, a development which he said has excited more farmers.
“Farmers are very excited with this development as it proves to improve their productivity. Meanwhile over 543 farming families are using the scheme and more are to be incorporated after noting the benefits their friends are registering.”
According to Wadi, the Utale scheme is designed to be powered by state of art solar energy which has already been installed with automated system to allow the panels to turn along with sun direction.
Under MRDRMP project, the Malawi government intends to rehabilitate over 12 water supply system schemes including Ntonda in Ntcheu, Chididi in Nsanje, and Nkula in Machinga among others.
On the other hand, the parent project, MDRRP focuses on rehabilitating five rural gravity fed piped water supply schemes and drilling of 310 rural boreholes as well as drilling of 14 high yielding boreholes for Central and Southern Region water boards, 6 and 8 respectively.
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