The World Bank says Malawi stands a chance to access up to $250 million (about K259 billion) for the successor project of Agriculture Sector Wide Approach Support Project II (ASWAp SP II)
World Bank principal agriculture economist Blessings Botha said in an interview last week that accessing the funding will be subject to successful implementation of the ASWAp SP II, which winds up in June this year.
Irrigation farming is key to agriculture commercialisation
The project is touted to have improved agricultural productivity, nutrition and access to markets, particularly for local farmers.
“We are planning to develop a successor agriculture commercialisation project, which is going to take some of the important areas of the ASWAp SP II so that we can improve and deepen the impact over time,” said Botha on the sidelines of a visit to various districts to appreciate the impact of the project among the farmers.
He said they have a budget which the Bretton Woods institution is discussing with the Malawi Government, adding that their discussions are still in preparatory stages.
“We hope by the end of the year it should come into effect,” said Botha.
He said ASWAp SP II was designed to achieve food security, productivity and diversification as well as access to markets, adding that all these have been achieved as evidenced by what they saw in the farmers’ fields and homes.
“It is impressive to see that farmers are growing more than one crop and also improving the diversification in their nutrition,” said Botha.
Loti Moyo Model Village chairperson Tionge Munthali in Mtwalo, Mzimba said they have seen many benefits from the ASWAp SP II project, including the rehabilitation of Ezondweni-Baula Road, which has eased the transportation of agriculture produce to the market, rehabilitation of Kahanga and Kasito Bridge as well as the diversified farming activities.
She said: “As a village, we now cultivate assorted crops. We cultivate groundnuts, sweet potatoes, maize, bananas, backyard vegetable gardens and we also have livestock.
“This has improved our nutrition status and helped us to find money when we sell some.”
ASWAp SP II coordinator Henry Msatilomu said that they are now consolidating the project’s benefits and the critical thing is whether the gains will be sustained.
“We are going through a process where we and our stakeholders, the farmers, are discussing sustainability strategies so that going forward, post ASWAp SP II project, we should see continuity in terms of farmers practising the technologies they have learnt as well as the knowledge and the skills,” he said.
ASWAp SP II is a $55 million (about K56.9 billion) project implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture, funded by the European Union, United States Agency for International Development, Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Irish Aid, and the Government of Flanders and administered by the World Bank.
The implementation of the project, which has benefited 12 districts, started in May 2018 and was expected to close on December 31 2021, but the Malawi Government negotiated for an additional financing of $14.8 million (about K15.3 billion), bringing the project value to $69.8 million (K72.3 billion).
ASWAp is a comprehensive programme and budget framework that has a formalised process for better donor coordination and harmonisation of investment and alignment of funding arrangement in the agriculture sector.
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