Beneficiaries of the SVTP:

The SVTP will benefit smallholder farmers and other farmers within the project area.   Smallholder farmers who are the owners of the land will be the primary beneficiaries of the irrigation water. The estimated 2016 population in the project area was 223,000 people in 48,400 households. 

All people in the project area will receive the information needed to decide whether they want to take advantage of this opportunity to modernise their farms and enter into more commercial farming. Since the project supports the community at large, it will empower various vulnerable groups.

What will happen to peopleโ€™s land?

The current land rights will be respected. Only people whose land is in the direct line of the canals, drains and roads will need to be relocated and compensated for their loss. For all others, it is important to know that:

  • Irrigated fields will be organised along the canals.
  • Farmers will be organised in blocks to manage the water and, where relevant, their agricultural production.
  • It will be necessary for farmers to consolidate land and get a shared ownership of the consolidated irrigation blocks.

The SVTP will facilitate the development of mutually agreed and voluntary partnerships between the private sector and farmersโ€™organisations.

This will help farmers to increase their production, generate market opportunities and develop the value chain from production to distribution of the agricultural produce to consumers.

In addition, the project will allow for livestock, small scale water supply, drinking water and other secondary benefits.

How will farmers be organised?

There are already several large farms in Phase I of the irrigation scheme, such as Kasinthula, Phata Cooperative and the Sande Ranch. Other farmers are in the process of organizing themselves to irrigate their land, for example KAMA Cooperative and Nchalo Smallholder Cane Growers Association.  All farmers that want to be part of the irrigation scheme will have to organise themselves and be legally registered.

The farmersโ€™organisations will be responsible for managing the farms in one or more irrigation blocks and sign an agreement with the operator of the irrigation infrastructure specifying the entitlement to irrigation water, the fee to be paid for management, operation and maintenance of the infrastructure and other conditions such as the duration of the agreement.

How will the Irrigation Scheme be managed?

The Government of Malawi is the owner of the Shire Valley Irrigation Scheme and all the irrigation infrastructure. The Government will hire a company to manage the infrastructure. The company will be responsible for:

  • Ensuring that all irrigation blocks get their water as per agreement.
  • Maintaining the main canals and infrastructure so that water can flow.
  • Entering into agreement with the farmers and collecting water fees, among others.

What crops will be grown?

The objective of the project is to transform subsistence smallholder farmers into commercial farmers.ย  Farmers will decide what crops to grow on their land. Cash crops will have to be grown on a larger portion of the land so that the income will be enough to pay for the operation and maintainance (MOM) fees and other expenses. Part of the land may be used for food crops, pastures, woodlots and other uses.

Agricultural specialists investigated a large number of crops that could be grown under irrigation and selected the most viable crops that are easy to grow, harvest, store, market and/or process. 

Modalities for Commercial Farming:

Commercial farming requires a larger area of land for cultivation. Therefore, farmers will have to pool their land together to create this large farm. Farmers will enter with a share corresponding to the full area and productivity will be higher.

All farmers with land within the irrigation block and the surrounding areas may participate. The participation in the irrigation blocks is voluntary. If a farmer does not want to participate he/she will be compensated in order to acquire land elsewhere in the surrounding communities.