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As part of his administration’s commitment to foresee the implementation of crucial developments in the country, President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera made a milestone visit to the northern region this month for the commissioning of two developmental projects.

The President visited Nkhata Bay District for the commissioning of the Nkhata Bay Town Water Supply System and Sanitation Facilities, which took place at the Northern Region Water Board offices in the district.

Upon his arrival, President Chakwera first toured the Nkhata Bay Water Treatment Plant and proceeded to unveil a plaque at the facility to officially mark the commissioning of the US$30.55 million project.

The project was jointly financed by the African Development Bank at a tune of US$15.1 million, OPEC Fund for International Development at a tune of US$12million and the government of Malawi at a tune of US$3.45million.

Speaking after commissioning the project, President Chakwera said the development marked a new beginning for the people of Nkhata Bay in ensuring that they have increased access to portable water. 

“It gives me great joy to join the people in Nkhata Bay in celebrating this project which has been successfully completed ahead of time and within budget. This facility is not a favour from government to people, but it is a right that they have to enjoy from their government,” Chakwera said.

 Board Chairperson for Northern Region Water Board, Frank Tumpale Mwenifumbo said the inauguration of the facilities marked a significant increase in the production capacity to carter for the growing demand.

The development will improve the health and sanitation of over 105 000 people in Nkhata Bay district and surrounding areas, as per President Chakwera’s agenda in the Malawi 2063, which envisions a healthy population by ensuring provision of clean water as well as sanitation and hygiene services at household and community level.

According to NRWB, under the sanitation component, the project has also supported the council through the promotion of open defecation free communities.

This saw 23 ventilated improved pit latrines being constructed for the public and household sanitation being improved through marketing of improved sanitation facilities and hygiene practices.

President Chakwera then, on Friday September 8, winded up his official duties by officiating the commissioning of the Linga Irrigation Scheme also known as the Linga Mega Farm at Linga in Kande, Nkhata Bay.

The scheme, which is expected to benefit over 5000 farmers and is the largest scheme in Malawi, has seen over 800 rice and beans farmers start irrigation farming on a 450 hectare out of the 1000 hectares of land available.

Linga Dam, which is part of the scheme, was constructed with funds to the tune of $21million (about K23.6 billion) and has a storage capacity of 14.7 million cubic meters of water.

It is located within Chintheche Extension Planning Area (EPA) in the areas of Traditional Authorities Fukamapiri and Malengamzoma. People in these areas will be using water from the Linga Dam.

President Lazarus Chakwera described the scheme as one of the most critical and modernized, which will go a long way in increasing agricultural productivity.

“The project of mega farms will ensure that farmers get to harvest more than once a year instead of relying on rain fed agriculture only. The good thing is that markets have already been identified for the products.

“I am glad to hear that farmers can be able to earn K500 Million from this project. That is very inspiring and will ensure that this country is food secure. Households will get engaged in income-generating activities and afford to send their children to school,” said Chakwera.

The project of megafarms goes inline with the first pillar of the Malawi Agenda 2063 which focuses on Agriculture Productivity and Commercialization.

One of the farmers who has benefited from the project and who is also president for Linga Water Users Association, Anderson Manda, thanked President Chakwera for the development, saying before the establishment of mega farms, farmers used to struggle to irrigate on a big land.

“We began farming on this particular land in 2007. It was a tough process as we struggled to accumulate water from rivers with little manpower. We are really thankful to the president for this development. We have irrigated on a large area and this is a first in the history of farming in this district,” said Manda.

The Linga Irrigation Scheme was jointly funded by the African Development Bank, the Malawi Government and the European Investment Bank.

In his closing remarks as he addressed a crowd which gathered at Nkondezi Primary School Ground in Nkhata Bay, Chakwera called upon Malawians to be responsible for all development projects which government establishes, to ensure that the country moves forward.

“It is my plea to us all to be patriotic and nurture these projects so that we have more in the future. If we are patriotic in such developments, we will see our country develop within a few years,” said Chakwera.