Irrigation in Malawi Massive potential – 13 perrenial rivers, Lake Malawi 90% of Malawians rely on subsistence-level rainfed agriculture

for their food supply Community based irrigation schemes Mnembo irrigation scheme – helps 900 families grow high volume harvests to provide continuous food and a source of income

How community irrigation scheme works – Oxfam’s approach  Working with an interested village or community, the first step is to identify a suitable location. This should be somewhere flat, close to a river or natural water source, and with fertile soil – and close to where the community lives. The next step is to create an initial committee, drawn from within the participating community, to help to set up the project, and to generate the necessary interest and commitment from within the community. Oxfam then supports the community to negotiate a reasonable annual rent from the owners of the land to enable them to farm the fields that will be irrigated by the system Anyone can join the scheme, provided that they can raise enough money to pay a small amount of rent to the landowners – the equivalent of about 80 pence initially, then about £6 per year. Oxfam pays individual community members to construct a network of cement irrigation canals to channel the water from the river to the fields. As well as providing a source of income, this offers the community total ownership of the system, and valuable construction knowledge in case they need to make any repairs in the future. Starter packs of seeds and fertiliser are provided, along with training in farming techniques and market access support.

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“The irrigation system has enabled us to cultivate different crops all year round so we can make more money. We grow rice, wheat and tomatoes. Tomatoes are the most profitable. We sell tomatoes to Mulanje canning factory twice a year.“

At a glance: how much does it cost to… Build a community irrigation system? It depends on the size of the scheme. The scheme in Mnembo cost about $164,000. Pay a farmer to construct an irrigation system? $0.54 a day for six months.

Buy a bag of cement? $11.45 Buy a starter pack of seeds, fertiliser, and manure? About $31 per pack. Seeds cost $1.65 a kilogram, fertilisers cost $33 for 50 kilograms, and manure is free. A farmer gets about 5kg of seeds and 35kg fertiliser in the starter pack. Train a farmer in new crop production techniques? $24: $8 per day per farmer for three days Train an irrigation committee in marketing and market access? $245: ten farmers are trained at a cost of about $8 per day, for three days

(Oxfam, 2011)

Malawian Department of Irrigation Small Farms Irrigation Project The Government of Malawi (GoM) through a loan from the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA) amounting to US$8.0 million to implement the Small Farms Irrigation Project (SFIP). There was counterpart funding from GoM amounting to US$2.04 million making a total project funding of US$10.04 million. Phase 1 of the project will be completed in June 2012 and phase 2 is expected to commence in July 2012. The target area for development is 1,600 ha covering two sites namely, Lweya in Nkhata bay and Nkopola in Mangochi and expected to benefit about 4,000 farm families.

Malawi Irrigation Development and Support Programme The Malawi Irrigation Development Support Programme focuses on poverty reduction and sustainable irrigation development and management in order to ensure food security and improve the living standards of the people. These are to be achieved through implementation of two projects i.e. Capacity building and Institutional Enhancement for Irrigation development and Agricultural Productivity Improvement and Marketing. The programme is to be implemented over a period of 84 months with funding from Government of Malawi and potential development partners. Implementation of the programme started in July 2009 to close in June 2015. The Total estimated cost of the programme is US$ 135 million. However, currently the programme is funded solely by Malawi Government.

The project targets to develop 900 hectares by the end of the programme, establish 15 Water User Associations and train about 2000 farmers. So far, 10 hectares were developed while 43 hectares were under construction. About 210 hectares were designed awaiting procurement of materials and one Water User Association has been formed under the project. 240 hectares were rehabilitated at Hara irrigation scheme.

Farm Input Subsidy Programme Introduced in 2005/06 season Enabled Malawi to produce decent maize surpluses over and above its annual requirements Net import became net export