11 May 2017

Malawi: Solar Powered Irrigation to Transform Lives of Chikwawa Youths

Chikwawa — The Sustainable Rural Growth and Development Initiative (SRGDI) says its K20million solar powered irrigation scheme to be constructed in Chikwawa will improve the economic status of the youths in the district.

The revelation was made Tuesday during a Youth and Sports Technical Working Committee Meeting which was held at the National Initiative for Civic Education (NICE) office.

The organization, with funding from IM Swedish Development Partners is implementing a three year 'Youth Economic and Social Actions' (YESA) Project in Traditional Authorities (T/As) Maseya and Lundu.

SRGDI's District Coordinator, Ian Sukali said his organization noted that Chikwawa had the potential of utilizing available resources such as land and water to improve the economic status of the youths hence the coming in of the multi-million solar powered irrigation scheme.

"We want to use these available resources to pilot the first ever youth solar powered irrigation scheme which will be constructed under Group Village Headman Biliati in Paramount Chief Lundu's area," he said.

Sukali said the solar powered irrigation scheme idea was emulated from the previous interventions by his organization where the youths in the district were empowered in agribusiness by also providing them with farm inputs such as seeds and treadle pumps.

"Through the business and entrepreneurship trainings conducted in the project, we normally identify some economic activities that can be utilized as business and the youths themselves pointed out that agricultural activities would improve their economic income," Sukali highlighted.

According to Sukali, they have involved experts from various ministries relating to the work on the ground and the youths have received necessary trainings which will enable them do their farm work responsibly.

The organization will also explore to facilitate the establishment of youth cooperatives in order to strengthen the marketing linkages that can promote sustainable agriculture as well as effective production.

Sukali further said his organization engaged the services of a Malawian, Lilongwe based Teren Consulting Company which did feasibility studies and that a report on the same is expected by the end of May.

"We want to ensure that in the coming rainy season, the project should be finalized and handed over to the community. We want also to focus on value addition where produce from the scheme will be added value to access the market which we already have," he concluded.

On his part, Joshua Malunga, Project Manager for the Development Initiative Network commended SRGDI for the idea to come up with the irrigation scheme as a way of empowering the youths in the district saying it will help youths have a sense of ownership and keep them busy and economically empowered.

Malunga said through the scheme, various crops will be planted and sold out to people within and outside the district.

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