Greenbelt Authority Partners Mpatsa Holdings in K17 bn Mega Farms

GBA officials interacting with the media GBA officials interacting with the media - pic by Luka Beston

The Greenbelt Authority (GBA) has partnered with Mpatsa Holdings Limited in a K17 billion commercial irrigation joint venture to use about 1, 516 hectares of land in Zomba and Thyolo.

The authority's Director of Corporate Services, Rachel Silungwe, said the venture will form the Mpatsa Greenbelt Mega Farms to produce various value chains including livestock, adding that negotiations are also underway to partner with Conforzi Plantations Limited in Thyolo.

During a media sensitization on Thursday, Silungwe said the country has about 400, 000 hectares of irrigation land but it is only utilizing 20 percent (about 100, 000 ha) of it, hence the private sector irrigation agreements to ensure food security.

Silungwe disclosed that the company will use 735 hectare land at Khonjeni in Thyolo, 350 hectares at Rathdrum and 416 hectares at Nachambo both farms in Zomba to produce various food value chains.

"In terms of our criteria when assessed and did our due diligence, we were satisfied that we could go into partnership and form a joint venture with Mpatsa. It is also to our advantage because Mpatsa is local and Malawian," she said.

She said the Public Private Partnership (PPP) agreements are aimed at exploiting the available land for winter irrigation in a quest to make Malawi food secure and a middle-income country by 2063.

The Mpatsa Holdings has pumped in K10.2 billion representing 60 percent shareholding while the government has injected K6.8 billion (40 percent shares) in the venture.

Meanwhile, the Thyolo District Information Officer, Yamikani Yapuwa, said the media sensitization is crucial for the successful implementation of the projects.

"My expectation is that from this meeting, members of the media from this side would be able to write accurate and impactful stories," Yapuwa said.

Apart from sugar production in Salima, the Greenbelt Authority is also into vegetables, rice, cotton, livestock and maize farming in Mangochi, Karonga, Dowa, Chikwawa and Nkhata bay.

The authority is eying to upscale and develop irrigated land to 15, 000 hectares come 2027.

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