Expansion of Nkhata Bay’s Linga irrigation scheme increases crop production capacity

* Over 390 hectares of rice planted with an expected winter yield of 1,034 metric tons valued at K1.14 billion

* Also planted 20 hectares of beans with an expectation to harvest 54 metric tons valued at K103 million

* The key to turn around the country’s fortunes lies in resurrecting the agriculture sector through serious irrigation and mechanised mega-farming

By George Mponda & Wanangwa Tembo, MANA

President Lazarus Chakwera on Friday officially commissioned Linga irrigation scheme, which is Malawi’s largest as its expansion has increased rice production capacity as more land is now utilising the facility.


Linga Water Users Association president, Anderson Manda appraised Chakwera that they started rain-fed farming through the irrigation scheme in 2007 but with the expansion of the scheme, they have planted over 390 hectares of rice with an expected winter yield of 1,034 metric tons valued at K1.14 billion.

“We have also planted 20 hectares of beans and we expect to harvest 54 metric tons valued at K103 million,” Manda said os the scheme, which has been constructed under the agricultural infrastructure & youth in agribusiness project.

It has components such as irrigation infrastructure development & catchment management; youth entrepreneurship; market linkages; agro-processing & value addition; project management and institutions strengthening.

Construction works of the scheme which started in 2019 were co-financed by African Development Bank and the Malawi Government to the tune of US$21 million.

The scheme, which is located within Chintheche Extension Planning Area (EPA) in the areas of Traditional Authorities Fukamapiri and Malengamzoma, will be using water from Linga Dam — which has a capacity of 14 million cubic metres to cater for 1,000 hactares of irrigable land.

The project is in a quest to contribute to national efforts of increasing agricultural productivity and household economic empowerment and addressing a development rally at Linga Full Primary School after commissioning the scheme, Chakwera described it as one of the most critical and modernised which will go a long way in increasing agricultural productivity.

“With this dam, farmers will be harvesting more than once a year instead of relying on rain-fed agriculture only,” he said. “The good thing is that markets have already been identified for the products.”


The President warned contractors who resist handing over completed public projects, especially on irrigation, saying government projects should not be treated like personal ventures.

“It is completely unacceptable to see projects being underutilised because developers are refusing to handover projects. I want the Minister of Agriculture to see to it that all projects that have not yet been handed over should be in the hands of government as soon as possible.

From Nkhata Bay, President Chakwera visited Kasungu where he told people that the key to turn around the country’s fortunes lies in resurrecting the agriculture sector through serious irrigation and mechanised mega-farming.

He said there must be serious efforts to construct huge dams that can support mega farms and stop the country’s dependency on rain-fed agriculture.

“We will construct big dams so that we have well established agriculture to produce more crops for both food and commercial purposes. We will cultivate more and diverse crops and harvest at least three times a year. This will happen because we have already started.”

The president said farmers must get organised and start working collaboratively to make the mega farms initiative a reality for every community. 

In his remarks, Senior Chief Kaomba of Kasungu requested the President to see to it that ADMARC depots are opened to make maize more accessible to communities, assuring that the chiefs are ready to support the government’s agricultural initiatives to help rid the country of its perennial food shortages. 

Chakwera also toured construction works on the M1 stretch between Kasungu and Jenda and he said Malawi was in a construction mode emphasising that there are construction works taking place all over the country.

Member of Parliament for Kasungu Central Constituency, Ken Kandodo thanked the President for the road network projects in the district, saying they are in line with MW2063 vision of having modern towns and cities. 

“The MW2063 vision is anchored on urbanisation which requires good towns and cities. The roads project in Kasungu is a big step towards the realisation of this dream. 

“With the Constituency Development Fund increased from K40 million to K100 million, we will construct more roads in the town and erect street lights,” he said Kandodo.

While in the North, Chakwera presided over the 25th graduation ceremony at Mzuzu University and opened the K31 billion Nkhata Bay Water System.