Limbe – Sandama Rail Renovation Makes Headway
There are high prospects of a boost in socio-economic development of small scale farmers in Thyolo, Chiradzulu and Blantyre once renovation of Limbe - Sandama rail way stretch completes.
Transport minister Sidik Mia on Thursday inspected renovation works of the rail stretch which is making progress.
Mia said the rail way will cut transport costs among the farmers and other users who produce and sell their crops to various areas in the southern region.
“Malawi is a landlocked country; therefore, transports costs are extremely exorbitant. The ministry of transport is entrusted on making sure that the transport cost be reduced and march that of SADC region which is about $7 per ton. Currently, we are at about $10 per ton.
“The farm input universal subsidy programme has been brought about to see more production in the country. The more production we have, people will have choice to use cheaper modes of transport; that’s the rail or to use water transport which we are also looking at or to use road transport,” he said.
Chrispin Kapalamula, Projects Manager for Central and East African Railways which is renovating the railway, says over 20 kilometers of the 72 kilometer stretch has already been completed.
“The first phase which is from Limbe to Nansadi, we anticipate that this December it will be done. The second phase from Nansadi to Luchenza we anticipate that March 2021 it will be completed.
“However, I should be quick to point out that with the COVID-19 pandemic, we are having challenges. You know that our work involves more people so we have to scale down our production. That will affect us greatly on the finishing dates but we are trying to re-plan to achieve the deadlines,” he said.
Kapalamula added that “we have done 16 kilometers in the first phase out of 23 kilometers; for the second phase, we have done 6 kilometers out of the 21 kilometers.
“For the earth works, we have done about 14 kilometers of the 21 which represents a good percentage as well.”
Renovation of the stretch which runs from Blantyre to Thyolo is worth $20 million.