Head of European Commission to Malawi, Alexander Baum, has announced that the European Union will pump more money into the Rural Infrastructure Development Programme (RIDP) because it benefits rural masses.
Speaking during the launch of the programme at Mbwatalika in Traditional Authority Malili in Lilongwe, Baum said his organisation is satisfied with the aims of the programme to enhance the socio-economic conditions of the rural masses.
“The total allocation of this programme was 32 million euros, but I am pleased to announce that the European Union (EU) has already put aside an additional 10 million euros for this project and government has already applied to use the resources to rehabilitate additional rural roads and bridges,” said Baum.
According to Baum, the total allocation for the RIDP will be in excess of K14 billion (about $56m).
Minister of Water Development and Irrigation Ritchie Muheya said RIDP will go a long way to strengthen the aspirations of the Green Belt Initiative through its component which intends to build capacity in the irrigation sector.
“The Green Belt Initiative is a programme which we are implementing as government to increase agricultural production and productivity. Through the RIDP component on irrigation, plans and designs will be made available to the EU for construction under the Green Belt Initiative,” he said.
Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Grace Maseko said she was happy that there are studies being undertaken under RIDP to establish how available natural resources can best be used for irrigation development.
“Rural development initiatives such as RIDP are providing the necessary support to enable Malawians living in rural areas to improve their living standards. Through irrigation, we can easily mitigate the impact of climate change and help farmers have food throughout the year,” said Maseko.