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Smallholder Irrigation and Value Addition Project (SIVAP)

$39.6 million for the promotion of irrigated rice and horticulture production as well as crop diversification and value chain development for selected commodities.
Photo: Eva-Lotta Jansson


In Malawi, one in two people in rural areas are poor – the vast majority are small-scale food producers – driven by poor performance of the agriculture sector, volatile economic growth, population growth, and limited opportunities in non-farm activities. Agriculture accounts for around 30% of Malawi’s GDP, and provides a livelihood for more than 80% of the population. The sector is composed of about two million small-scale food producers who use 6.5 million hectares of cultivable land and around 30,000 commercial estates that hold around 1.2 million hectares of cultivable land. Most small-scale food producers cultivate less than one hectare. Only 2% of Malawi’s cropland is irrigated, and almost all the irrigated land is controlled by commercial estates, which mainly grow cash crops such as tobacco, cotton and coffee.


The Smallholder Irrigation and Value Addition Project (SIVAP) aims to increase agricultural production and productivity through intensification of irrigation, crop diversification, value addition, and capacity building through sustainable land and water management, crop diversification, and value chain development. The main activity, intensification of irrigation, involves the construction of 11 new irrigation schemes and the rehabilitation of five existing schemes. It also supports the implementation of programs that address institutional and capacity constraints through capacity building of local farmers' organizations, water users' associations, and farmers' cooperatives on production technologies, nutrition, agribusiness, and environmental management. The farmers will be provided with training on good farming practices including timing, planting, harvesting techniques to maximize crop potential, and nutrition.

Project Status






Focus area

  • Climate Change

Supervising entity


251,298 poor people have benefited from the project. By the end of the project, it is expected to directly benefit 70,068 farm families (420,408 people), including 50% women.  


41,883 farmers have adopted the technology being promoted, surpassing the target of 16,600 farmers. Several trainings have been conducted for farmers in areas of seed multiplication, rainfed cropping, conservation agriculture, formation and strengthening of water users' associations, and post-harvest and value addition processes. Farmers have also been trained in participatory M&E, and they have participated in study tours within the districts to other operating irrigation schemes. Farmers were successfully linked to local markets to sell their 2015 and 2016 produce and increase income as a way of contributing to poverty reduction. Fostering broad collaboration, the project supported cooperatives from seven districts that attended the National Agriculture Fair.


1,750 hectares with improved/rehabilitated irrigation and drainage services have been constructed and 1,170 hectares have been rehabilitated. By the end of the project, the project will develop 2,050 hectares of new irrigation infrastructure and rehabilitate an additional 1,295 hectares, leading to increased water-use efficiency and expansion of land under irrigation for cultivation of both food and cash crops. It will also help to mitigate the negative climate change effects in the targeted districts through the promotion of drought-tolerant crops and the development of irrigation systems.


Olagoke A. Oladapo
Chief Agro Economist & Task Team Leader, +225 2026 3494

Mr. Vinda Kisyombe
Agro Economist & Alternate Task Team Leader

Work with Us

Launched in 2010, the Global Agriculture & Food Security Program (GAFSP) represents a transformative approach to development aid that pools donor funds to make lasting improvements by supporting technically sound, country-led plans and sustainable, inclusive small- and medium-sized enterprises. The inaugural donors—Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Canada, the Republic of Korea, Spain, and the United States—were soon joined by Australia, Germany, Ireland, Japan, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. GAFSP’s donors work in partnership with recipients, civil society organizations, and other stakeholders to improve the lives of smallholder farmers and their families. Millions of poor and vulnerable people around the world will directly benefit from GAFSP’s continued commitment and support. GAFSP looks to engage other donors and stakeholders in this important initiative.

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