Nthola-Illola-Ngosi irrigation scheme to boost rice production
Greenbelt Authority says once completed the Nthola-Illola-Ngosi Irrigation Scheme in Karonga will among other things boost rice production for both commercial and subsistence use in the district and the country as a whole.
Chief Executive Officer for Greenbelt Authority, Eric Chidzungu was speaking over the weekend in Karonga when the Authority was handing over the scheme’s construction site to Sico Civil Contractor who has been earmarked to undertake the project.
“We are starting this project with the readily available market across the globe and we will be inviting other investors to invest here. Farmers will access those markets through cooperatives that have already been formed.
We expect that this scheme will open business opportunities to players in the production, processing, and marketing levels. Input suppliers will also benefit from the project as it will widen the market for inputs,” said Chidzungu.
District Commissioner for Karonga, Paul Kalilombe said the project has the potential to improve people’s livelihood in the district.
Kalilombe, therefore, asked Greenbelt Authority and the contractor to pay those who will be employed to work on the construction of the scheme as per their agreement to avoid delays that may arise due to payment-related issues.
Manager for Sico Civils Contractor, Wesley Msowoya assured people in the area that his company will work tirelessly to complete the project within the specified period.
The rice scheme which will cover a total of 631 hectares of land, will among other things, have a warehouse and a rice milling plant that will be used for value-adding and packaging.
According to agriculture statistics, Malawi has 600 000 hectares of land that can be used for rice production. If this area was fully utilized, the country could produce at least 3 million tons of rice per annum.