The African Development Bank (AfDB) Group on Wednesday approved grants and loans amounting to K29.2 billion (about $81.1 million) to finance irrigation and road rehabilitation projects in Malawi.
The project, according to a statement from the Pan-African bank, will benefit 450 000 Malawians indirectly, and aims to contribute to food security, increased income levels and poverty reduction.
The specific objectives of the project are to increase agricultural production and productivity through intensification of irrigation, crop diversification, value addition and capacity building. Smallholder Irrigation and Value Addition Project (Sivap) will benefit 11 400 farm families of which more than 50 percent are headed by women.
The grants, totalling K15.9 billion (about $44.2 million) from the Global Agriculture and Food Security Programme (Gafsp) and the African Development Fund (ADF), will be used to finance the Sivap.
A total of K15.8 billion (about $43.8 million) will come from the Gafsp Multi-Donor Trust Fund, while the ADF will provide a grant of K152 million (about $422 222).
“The project will ensure ownership by the beneficiaries through participation in supervision, monitoring, evaluation, afforestation activities, matching grant arrangement for equipment, and training.
“The emphasis on expanding irrigation capacity will support government efforts in achieving the objective of enabling farmers to plant two crops per year,” says the bank, in a statement.
The AfDB has also provided a concessionary loan of K13.2 billion (about $36.7 million) to finance the rehabilitation of the road between Mzuzu and Nkhata Bay, which is one of the major trunk roads prioritised in the government’s Road Sector Programme, as it is part of the road network that links the Northern Region to the Central and Southern regions.
Once rehabilitated, the road will support economic growth sectors in the Northern Region and is expected to benefit an estimated 342 211 people living in the places, by improving access to markets, schools, and health centres and other social-economic centres, according to AfDB statement.
The road is located on the Mtwara Development Corridor and, therefore, serves international freight traffic from Zambia and Tanzania. It is an important road link, not only for domestic connectivity, but also for regional trade and integration.