Cyclone Ana affected the intake foundation and part of the first siphon at Kapichira Dam however, all other structures like the 4km-canal, flume, 14 drainage works, and 2 bridges are intact. Construction works are still continuing on the canal including clearance and excavation works on the 46km stretch of the canal (Main Canals 1 and 2). The Ministry of Agriculture working in collaboration with the World Bank, Electricity Generation Company of Malawi (EGENCO), and other stakeholders conducted assessments of the damage to both the Kapichira Dam and the SVTP intake structure. The Kapichira Dam is of paramount importance to the SVTP as it is the main source of water for the irrigation scheme. A joint detailed review of the damage will be undertaken by the consultant from the month of February to necessitate mapping of the next steps in the construction of the intake and restoration of the Kapichira dam.

The picture shows the damaged parts of construction works including the intake foundation and the four panels of Siphon 1
Picture: Alice Kaunda, SVTP

The Minister of Agriculture Honorable Lobin Lowe accompanied by the deputy minister Honorable Madalitso Kambauwa Wirima and the Chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture Honorable Sameer Suleiman visited the SVTP construction site in Chikwawa on Sunday 13th February 2022. The aim of the visit was to appreciate the effects of Cyclone Ana on the construction works. Speaking during the visit, Honorable Lowe bemoaned the setback caused by the Cyclone but expressed optimism that farmers will still benefit from the initiative despite some delays caused by the damage. He further called for collaborative efforts in the management of the watershed in the Shire Valley which has been affected by tree cutting and bad farming practices.

โ€œThe intake foundation and part of the siphon have been affected which will most likely cause some delays in farmers accessing irrigation services. However, I would like to assure people that farmers will still benefit from this initiative. My Ministry is working with all the key stakeholders to ensure that there is a thorough assessment of the damage and a clear way forward to resume works on this key structure. We are also working with our colleagues from the Ministry of Energy and Departments responsible for Environmental Affairs and Forestry to come up with strategies to deal with the heavy environmental degradation with is still posing a threat of persistent floods and drought to the Valley each year,โ€ he said.

Also, present during the visit was Engineer Joop Stoutjesdijk, Lead Engineer for the World Bank.

โ€œI would like to reiterate the World Bankโ€™s commitment to the completion of this flagship project. We anticipate that the lives of smallholder farmers in the Shire Valley will be transformed through this project as such we are committed to seeing it come to a realization. The Bank is committed to supporting the Government of Malawi in achieving this vision. We are also looking for ways to support the restoration of the Kapichira Dam as it is a key resource in this irrigation project and also because electricity is important for national development,โ€ he said.