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On 2 July 2019, President Peter Mutharika, officially inaugurated the EU funded Bwanje Valley Dam.
The European Union is supporting the implementation of Malawi’s Agricultural Sector Wide Approach (ASWAp) and the Green Belt Initiative. This we are doing in line with the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy by increasing agricultural productivity and food security of rural communities.
The European Union is supporting rural economic development through our EUR 69 million contribution to the Agricultural Sector Wide Approach programme (ASWAp) which includes initiatives such as the rehabilitation of 1,200 km of rural roads connecting farmers to markets, and the establishment of the Irrigation Fund and development of seven medium and large-scale irrigation schemes. The seven EU-funded irrigation projects target a total of nearly 1,900 ha and will directly benefit more than 42,000 Malawian farming families.
A central component of the EU’s support is the construction of the Bwanje Valley Dam, the largest Irrigation Water Dam in Malawi, at a cost of over EUR 11 million. The existing scheme comprises an overall command area of 800 ha, drawing water via a main canal from a weir and headworks located on the Namikokwe River. Whereas in the wet season all 800 ha can receive supplementary irrigation, up until only about 100-150 ha could be irrigated in the dry season due to water shortages in the Namikokwe River. In order to irrigate all 800 ha in the dry season, Bwanje Valley Dam has been funded and constructed by the European Union.
The EU views the Bwanje Valley Dam in the broader context of sustainable Water Resource Management. This is why the EU has worked with its partners to deliver an impressive WASH programme that positively affected over 1 million Malawians. The EU is also continuing to support water investments through the European Investment Bank (EIB), which is working with Malawi’s Water Boards to improve urban and peri-urban water supplies.
The Bwanje Valley Dam is more than just a dam. It is part of an irrigation system that currently irrigates 100 ha in the dry season. The dam’s 5.6 million cubic meters storage capacity will enable farming families to exploit the full potential of the scheme’s 800 ha. It will also mean that multiple cropping seasons will be possible. The Dam is located within the Mua-Livulezi Forest Reserve some 6 kms north of Mua Mission the Dedza District.