The World Bank-funded Malawi Watershed Services Improvement Project (Mwasip) says it will disburse matching grants to about 200 farmers’ groups and 60 agri-business enterprises in the country.
Speaking during a news conference in Blantyre on Friday, Ministry of Agriculture agri-business specialist Andrew Chamanza said the grants will range from $5 000 (K5.1 million) to $25 000 (about K26 million) while for agri-business enterprises, they will range from $25 000 to $50 000 (about K52 million).
He said so far, 37 farmers’ groups and 15 agri-business enterprises in Ntcheu, Neno, Blantyre, Zomba and Machinga districts have qualified for the first round of the grants, which will end on November 15 this year.
Chamanza, who is also Mwasip technical team member, said: “We target agri-business enterprises such as aggregators, processors and other business enterprises with the grants because we want them to provide value chains to enhance market access for the small-holder farmers.”
Malawi Resilience and Disaster Risk Management Programmme technical team member Francis Wadi said, so far, Utale Irrigation Scheme in Machinga, which consists of 210 hectares, is now in use.
“Currently, 543 farmers are cultivating in the scheme and have planted various cash crops such as maize, beans, paprika and other horticulture crops, but there is hope that the scheme can accommodate about 1 500 farming households,” he said.
In June 2020, the World Bank approved $157 million (about K163 billion) for Mwasip comprising a $78.5 million (K81 billion) credit and $78.5 million grant from the International Development Association.