Shire Valley Transformation Programme - 1 (SVTP-1)

Irrigation and Cash Crops for a Better'

Background & Context of the SVTP:

Approximately 85% of the population in Malawi live in rural areas; with the majority engaged in rain-fed subsistence agriculture and livestock raising.

Agricultural land is scarce in Malawi with 70% of small scale farmers farming less than one hectare of land.  Over the years, rains in Malawi have become erratic and less predictable leading to low productivity.  This, in additional to adverse effects of climate change including drought, floods, and declining soil fertility, has affected the agriculture sector in Malawi.

Irrigation helps farmers to better livelihoods as efficient water management can enhance yields, crop quality and cultivation of cash crops.

This leads to increased and sustainable incomes and food security at individual, household and community levels.  This is why the Shire Valley Transformation Programme (SVTP) has been initiated in Chikwawa and Nsanje Districts.

In Chikwawa and Nsanje Districts many people secure an income and food for their family from cultivating crops and raising livestock. Whether the harvest is good or not so good depends on unpredictable rainfall which often bring periods of drought or floods.

Both drought and floods have a significant impact on whether farmers can feed their families, pay for daily expenses, have a good house and secure the future of their children.

Through the Shire Valley Transformation Programme (SVTP), the Government of Malawi aims to boost agricultural production and increase productivity by helping farmers get a better harvest and healthier livestock and grow more high value cash crops to sell at both domestic and international markets.





About the SVTP:

The Government of Malawi (GoM) through the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, with support from the World Bank, the African Development Bank and the Global Environment Facility (GEF), is implementing the Shire Valley Transformation Programme (SVTP). The SVTP is a 14-year program (2018-2031) which will be implemented in three sequential but partially overlapping phases.

The SVTP will irrigate 43,370 hectares of land by abstracting water from the Shire River at Kapichira and conveying it by gravity to the irrigable area in Chikwawa and Nsanje districts through canals.  This will ensure a more consistent supply of water to farm lands throughout the year

Site of the Intake at Kapichira Dam

     The SVTP has the following guiding principles:

  • Benefit current land owners and users, and include them in agricultural modernization;
  • Farmers who want to participate will have to organise themselves and consolidate their land;
  • Allow for private investments in partnership with land owners and users;
  • Give communities a free choice to join the scheme;

Charge fees to pay for management, operation and maintenance of the irrigation infrastructure. This will create a sustainable scheme that remains in good condition.

Our Objective:

The program development objective (PDO) for the Shire Valley Transformation Programme is to increase agricultural productivity and commercialisation for targeted households in the Shire Valley; and to improve the sustainable management and utilization of natural resources.

The objective of the first phase of the Programme (2018 to 2023) is to provide access to reliable irrigation and drainage services, secure land tenure for smallholder farmers and strengthen management of wetlands and protected areas in the Shire valley.

What We Aim to Achieve:

  • Provide reliable, professionally managed and sustainably financed irrigation service to irrigators in a phased construction of the scheme and providing multiple services including water supply;
  • Support farmer organisations within a comprehensive land use plan; supporting land tenure strengthening and consolidation; as well as natural resources management; and
  • Establish smallholder owned commercial farm enterprises transitioning into commercial agriculture from subsistence farming and integrating them into commercial value chains.

Coverage of the SVTP:

Construction of the irrigation scheme will be done in two phases. Phase I covers the area from Chikwawa in the north to the edge of the Lengwe National Park. Phase II covers the area from south of Lengwe National Park along the Main Road to Bangula in the South. The water will flow by gravity without pumping through canals.


Read more

Connect with Us

  • Ministry of Agriculture Headquarters,
  • P.O. Box 30134, Lilongwe 3
  • Phone: +265 (0) 1 788 738
  • Fax: +265 (0) 1 788 908
  • Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Physical Location: Ministry of Agriculture Headquarters Building, Capital Hill, Lilongwe.

Useful links

  • Job Vacancies
  • Tenders
  • Fall army worms
  • Industrial Hemp