Malawi Broadcasting Corporation
Agriculture

UN Economic Commission for Africa touts Irrigation

The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UN-ECA) has reemphasized the need for African countries including Malawi to maximise investments in irrigation.

The call comes on the sidelines of a recent Conference of Ministers of Finance held in Zimbabwe.

Speaking during the conference, Deputy Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa, Antonio Pedro, called for transformative food systems and a focus on irrigation towards food security.

The call comes at a time when Malawi is enhancing its Mega Farm Initiative, which among others aims at promoting agriculture mechanisation and irrigation.

Pedro

According to Pedro, there is a need for increased access to finance for Africa to enable member states to increase investment in irrigation.

“The African continent holds 60 percent of the world’s uncultivated arable land and is home to 9 percent of the global freshwater sources but it continually suffers from hunger and post-harvest losses and widespread malnutrition,” Pedro said.

Echoing Pedro’s statement, Minister Mthuli Ncube, lamented the magnitude of irrigable land that is still unutilized on the continent.

Ncube stated, “It is unfortunate that Africa is not leveraging its resources enough. Out of 127 million hectares of irrigable land, only 13 percent is currently used for irrigation.”

Ncube

“With vast water bodies to irrigate our soils all we need is an investment in advanced irrigation technologies and enough funding to climate-proof our agriculture as we strive to be food secure,” Ncube added.

In his recently presented proposed National Budget, Malawi’s Finance Minister, Simplex Chithyola Banda, set aside K92.5 billion towards agriculture commercialisation and promotion of Mega Farms.

Secretary to the Treasury, Betchani Tchereni, represented the minister of finance at the conference.

The conference was held under the theme ‘Financing the Transition to Inclusive Green Economies in Africa: Imperative Opportunities and Policy Options.’

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