• A new Office Complex under construction at Chitedze Agricultural Research Station

  • A newly constructed irrigation Dam at Kasinthula Agricultural Research Station

Handover Ceremony of Infrastructure Erected at Kasinthula Agricultural Research Station with Support from the World Bank through the Agricultural Productivity program for Southern Africa APPSA Project

Posted by: | Posted on: December 5, 2018


Agricultural Productivity Program for Southern Africa (APPSA), Funded by World Bank contracted Paramount Holdings Ltd on a Project entitled ‘Rehabilitation of 5No. Satellite Research Station Lot 2 Kasinthula Research Station’ a project which constructed a library, conference room, administration block, cold room and renovated offices and rehabilitated irrigation facilities. This project started on 10th July 2017 and was handed over to Department of Agricultural Research Services (DARS) on Wednesday 21st November, 2018. At the ceremony were the delegations from the ministry of Agriculture, The delegation was hosted by Department of Agriculture Research Services. In attendance, was Director of Agricultural Research Services, Dr. Wilkson Makumba, The country coordinator APPSA, Dr Mackson Banda. In addition, the function was attended by team leaders of Paramount Holdings Limited (The Contractor), RUO Consultants, M & E Associates LTD and Quant consult Associates (Quantity Surveyors) and the MSV Technologa AEC+Design.


The handover ceremony started with a round table discussion at 9 o’clock in the morning. At the roundtable discussion it was agreed to start inspecting the farm site where there is the irrigation facility, the water reservoir, pump house, sprinkler irrigation system, and the basin irrigation system.



Water Resevoir (Dam)

At the irrigation scheme, a 3300 Littre water reservoir was constructed which is lined with a geo-membrane layer to avoid the water loss through seepage. The spill way was also constructed to safely release the excess water to a proper drainage channel. Mr Loga, the engineer from Technologa solutions suggested that the geo-membrane should be supported with bag of sand cement in order to avoid the wind to blow the geo-membrane away during the times when the reservoir is empty.

During an interview with Dr. P. Banda, the director of APPSA when he was asked if he was satisfied with the work he said, “The reservoir is fine, the only thing that I would love them to do is to plant trees around the reservoir at at least 4 meters from the reservoir” he continued “The trees will help in reducing evaporation losses from the reservoir”

The Pump house

A Pump house was built at 7 meters from the reservoir, in the pump house, as the name suggests, is a water pump to pump water from the reservoir to 5 hectare land where there is a sprinkler irrigation system.

In an interview with Dr H. Kazembe, the head of section for Farm Power and Machinery Unit, to comment about the pump house, he answered, “ Previously in the pump house there was a 50 horsepower pump which is meant to irrigate the land of not less than 100 hectors and our land is just 10 hectares which simply means that that pump was too big for our intended purpose which would make this reservoir to dry up in just a few days” What are the specification of the new installed pump and how good is it compared to the old one? “The new pump is 10 horsepower 36 meter head which is economic for our farmland and in addition to that it uses less electrical power than the old one” He also added that what is remaining is to test the pump if it is working efficiently and that will be done when the Electricity Supply Commission of Malawi (ESCOM) connects the power line to the pump house.

The Sprinkler Irrigation System

The main flame of the system was installed and raisers will be installed when the pump house is connected with power. It was also pointed out that the hydrants are too exposed to siltation and very difficult to people to operate it, so it was suggested that a man hole should be constructed around each hydrant. The picture below depicts the present exposed hydrant without a man hole.













It was also observed that the pipes coming from the underground flow was not perpendicular to the ground which will result in poor overwrapping angles thereby negatively affecting the system’s irrigation efficiency. For that reason it was recommended that the contractor should re-align the pipes to be perpendicular in order to avoid the irrigation inefficiency. The figure 3 below depicts the pipe which is not perpendicular to the ground.












When the director was asked on what is remaining on the sprinkler field and why is it being partially hard over? He replied “what is remaining is the electricity power line to be connected to the pump house by Electricity Supply Cooperation of Malawi (ESCOM), till then, the system will be tested and commissioned”












2.1.3 Basin Irrigation

The basin irrigation facility and the canal that supplies water to the Irrigation site have been rehabilitated. Each basin has a pipe that supplies water to it from the distribution boxes.

It was reported that one of the pipes that supplies water to one basin has been stolen. To avoid such vandalisms in future Mr. Loga suggested that the pipes should be made to be movable so that they should be moved out after irrigating and be fixed again durung the next Irrigation event.



The cold room has been completed and is ready to be used by the client. The contractor said that the cold room has a warranty of one year and the first servicing of the facility will be free of charge after the first six months of client’s use.


The construction of all the offices including the library and conference room is completed. Each room is installed with air conditioners, in addition to the air conditioners, in between the roof and ceiling is an insulation paper which makes the room have a good cold temperature even when the air conditioner is not switched on/not working.


For security purposes, the irrigation site is well fenced with barbed wire and the office premises has the main gate and the security guard office/ house at the entrance.

During the hand over is was agreed that from the day when the contractor vacate the premises, the client (Kasinthula Research) will be entirely responsible for security duties.


The project was supposed to be handed over in May, according to the contractor’s site Engineer Mr. A. Patel, the delay was due to the challenges which they were facing. “We agreed to finish and handover the project in May, 2018 but the challenges we faced delayed the process” he continued, “For example, the reservoir construction was not in our scope, it came later on when the project was underway which made us to start planning for procurement purposes”. When the consultant’s site engineer was interviewed on the same his answer similar to Mr A. Patel’s response and he just added that the delay of ESCOM to connect the power line to the pump house is delaying the testing and commissioning of the sprinkler irrigation scheme.


















In conclusion Dr Banda, the Country Coordinator of APPSA Malawi recommended that Kasinthula research should take care of the facility and the security should be so tight so that the infrastructure should last long. The Managing Director for Paramount Holdings Limited, Mr. Pakask, who was not present at the day sent a message through his site engineer that he was very much appreciative on the cooperation between the consultants, research Managers and all the parties involved.

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