Nthola-Illola Rice Irrigation Scheme impresses Parliamentary Committee.
Chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture Sammeer Suleman has asked stakeholders to join forces in promoting agricultural projects in the country.
Suleman was speaking on Saturday in Karonga after members of the committee visited the Greenbelt Authority's 631-hectare Nthola-Illola Irrigation Rice Scheme Project in the district.
Agriculture, according to Suleman, is the backbone of the country's social-economic development, so it must be promoted indefinitely.
He stated that the committee was impressed with the progress of building a rice milling plant and a weir at the rice scheme site.
“I am happy that this project has finally started, but we expected to see more work being done on the site.
“We pledge our full support as a committee towards this project because livelihoods of many people will be transformed once it is operational,” said Suleman.
Members of the committee at the scheme
On his part, Eric Chidzungu, Chief Executive Officer of the Greenbelt Authority, assured members of the parliamentary committee of the authority's commitment to completing the project on time as long as the government provides funds as planned.
Chidzungu said Malawi has 600,000 hectares of irrigable land and the potential to produce 2.5 million metric tons of rice per year.
Chidzungu said the country is failing to meet its potential rice tonnage because it relies too heavily on smallholder farmers.
“Karonga has a huge irrigable land which can be utilized for rice production throughout the year,” said Chidzungu.
Sico Civils Contractor Manager, Wesley Msowoya assured members of the committee that his company will work tirelessly to finish the construction of the rice-milling plant in September this year (2022).
The rice-milling plant will be used for value-adding and packaging of rice so that it can compete highly in both local and international markets.