Legislators have started their day debating on a loan authorisation for Bill No. 25 of 2022: International Development Association (Shire Valley Transformation Program-Phase 2).
The government intends to borrow K142 billion to boost irrigation farming in the Shire Valley.
The loan attracts an interest of less than 1% with a repayment period of 32 years.
Most Parliamentarians are in support of the bill because it will enhance food security in the country.
Mwanza Central legislator, Nicholas Dausi, said the funds should also be used to revive even the abandoned irrigation schemes that were vibrant during the reign of Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda apart from establishing new ones.
“In 1949, mainland China had a per capita less than that of Malawi. Even in 1932, during the great depression, agriculture productivity was the only way out. Therefore we support this bill and let us use the funds prudently for the benefit of the country. Let us not forget to rehabilitate other irrigation schemes that made Malawi the food basket during the leadership of Dr Banda,” said Dausi.
Other legislators are of the view that prisoners should work in the schemes on an agreement that they also benefit from the output.
Some Parliamentarians hold the view that ADMARC should stock output from the irrigation schemes so that it sells the same to Malawians at the appropriate time.
More calls were made for strict monitoring of the project once funds are acquired to avoid a repeat of past incidences where funds were accessed but with no tangible results to show.
Legislators depict increased agricultural productivity in the Shire Valley once the loan is accessed and project activities commence.