The African Development Bank (AfDB) Group has approved grants and loans totalling US$ 73 million to finance irrigation and road rehabilitation projects in Malawi, the bank disclosed in a statement Thursday.
According to the AfDB, US$ 39.98 million from the Global Agriculture and Food Security Programme (GAFSP) and the African Development Fund (ADF) will be used to finance the Smallholder Irrigation and Value Addition Project (SIVAP).
It was further disclosed that a total of US$ 39.6 million would come from the GAFSP Multi-Donor Trust Fund, while the ADF will provide a grant of US$ 0.38 million.
AfDB also indicated that the overall aim of the project is geared towards contributing to food security, increased income levels and poverty reduction in Malawi.
'The specific objectives are to increase agricultural production and productivity through intensification of irrigation, crop diversification, value addition and capacity building,' the statement noted.
Also, it was indicated that the project would benefit some 11,400 farm families of which more than 50 per cent are headed by women.
A total of 450,000 people will indirectly benefit from project activities through enhanced crop production, diversification and developing of high value-chains.
'The project will ensure ownership by the beneficiaries through participation in supervision, monitoring, evaluation, afforestation activities, matching grant arrangement for equipment, and training,' the statement added.
Meanwhile, the AfDB also provided a concessional loan of US$ 33.2 million to finance the rehabilitation of the road between Mzuzu and Nkhata Bay.
The road is said to be one of the major trunk roads linking Malawi's northern region with the central and southern regions.
'The road, once rehabilitated, will support economic growth sectors in the northern region and is expected to benefit an estimated 342,211 people living in the two districts, by improving access to markets, schools, and health centres and other social-economic centres,' AfDB stated.