"It's shameful that the UDF party wants to take us back to the dark days,"

Mr Gwanda Chakuamba (2003)

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Malawi to begin irrigation farming to boost food: president

BLANTYRE (AFP) — Malawi, until recently a net importer of food, is
to start irrigation farming to help boost food production and end
hunger, President Bingu wa Mutharika said on Tuesday.

government will establish a green belt along its giant lake Malawi,
which straddles one third of the country, Mutharika told reporters
before departing for Norway to attend a conference on a green African

"Where there is a river, we will try to start
irrigation. We should grow everything so that we have food all the
time," he said in remarks quoted on state radio.

"God gave us water. We have a lot of rivers and lakes. We are going into irrigation farming in a big way."

the huge fresh-water supply from Lake Malawi, Africa's third-largest,
agricultural experts say only two percent of land is irrigated and most
farming remains on a small scale and dependent on rain.

At the
Norway conference, Mutharika said he would be seeking international
investment to boost Malawi food production in order "to have food not
only for ourselves, but the world.

"We don't eat much rice but we are going to produce a lot of rice to feed the rest of the world."

Mutharika said his poor nation will "no longer beg food, especially maize, from outside."

the past three years, Malawians agreed not to beg maize. We can beg
other things, but not maize," Mutharika said in an apparent reference
to the government's 50-million-dollar (35-million euro) programme of
subsidised fertiliser which enabled peasant farmers to access cheap

Sixty percent of Malawi's 13 million citizens who
live below the poverty line met their food needs for the first time in
seven years in 2006 with a harvest of 2.2 million tonnes of maize.

threatened up to five million people in 2005 following drought, and the
Mutharika administration, just one year in office, spent more than 100
million dollars to import more than 400,000 tonnes of food to avert

Up to 85 percent of farming in Malawi is done by small-holder farmers who grow mainly maize, the country's staple.

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