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May 8, 2014

MIDP Project Outcomes Sharing Workshop Held

PhotoBeautiful MIDP rice field

On May 8th, the Government of Malawi through the Ministry of Water Development and Irrigation (MoWD&I) organized a dissemination workshop in Lilongwe to showcase the success story of the Project for the Development of Medium Scale Irrigation Schemes in Malawi (MIDP), a JICA-supported technical cooperation project. The workshop also marked the closing of MIDP's three years of implementation and was opened by Ms Erica Maganga, Principle Secretary of MoWD&I and Mr Kazuhiko Tokuhashi, Resident Representative of JICA Malawi office.

Despite having 20% of its surface area covered by fresh water and being rich in wetlands, Malawi has for the past years relied on rain fed agriculture. This is particularly true for small scale farmers who form the bulk of Malawi's agriculture production. Malawi's irrigation potential is estimated at more than 400,000 ha but the country only utilizes about 74,000 ha at the moment and more than half of this is under large estates.

For the last three years, the Government of Malawi with technical assistance from the Government of Japan through its development office- Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)- has implemented MIDP on pilot basis at Msikita and Tipindule in Mulanje and at Wenzide in Machinga districts in the Southern and Eastern parts of the country.

The main characteristics of the MIDP approach are 1)direct involvement of farmers, irrigation officers, and extension officers in all the processes, 2) systematic training of irrigation officers, extension officers and farmers, and 3)introduction of low cost and grassroots technology. This differs from common practices in Malawi where consultants and contractors are procured to conduct all the works. Because of its simple and low-cost design, MIDP has enhanced farmers' participation in construction and their contribution of materials.

Through MIDP, extension officers, irrigation officers, and farmers have acquired and strengthened their practical knowledge and skills for developing irrigation schemes. Recognising the success of the project, the Government of Japan has recently approved the Government of Malawi's request for another project aimed at expanding MIDP to other parts of the country.

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