$500m invested in Malawi agriculture sector

The Malawi agriculture sector is enjoying a massive investment of about $500 million in the 2015/16 financial year, running from July to June, but the question is whether the sector will get the maximum return from the investment.

Chairperson of Donor Committee on agriculture and food Security Nikolas Bosscher

Chairperson of Donor Committee on agriculture and food Security Nikolas Bosscher

Participants pose for a group photo at the review meeting

Participants pose for a group photo at the review meeting

The donor contribution to the sector is estimated at $265 million, while the government and non-governmental organisations (NGO) have injected $170 million and $46 million, respectively.

The revelation was made at the 2014/15 Agriculture Joint Sector Review meeting by the chairperson of the Donor Committee on Agriculture and Food Security (DCAFS) Nikolas Bosscher on Thursday in Lilongwe.

DCAFS comprises of Development Partners who include the African Development Bank, Brazil Embassy, DFID, European Union, Flanders Government, GIZ, Irish Aid, JICA, Embassy of Japan, Norwegian Embassy, USAID, World Bank, FAO and the rest of the UN family.

“This means we are collectively investing around $500 million in the sector in this financial year. This is a substantial figure and the big question here is: are we getting the maximum return on our investment,” wondered Bosscher.

Bosscher, however, indicated that the donor contribution is exclusive of humanitarian assistance, which is estimated at $57 million. The Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee (MVAC) says at least 2.8 million people are at risk of food insecurity and need of food aid in 2015 to March 2016.

From the current picture, he added, it is clear that the overall sector investments are heavily biased towards the Agriculture Sector Wide Approach (ASWAp) component of food security and “that we need to balance our efforts better according to the sector plan.”

“Singular emphasis on one component risks undermining the progress of the overall sector. DCAFS propose this map of our overall investments will help us to conduct an informed and inclusive policy dialogue on our combined agriculture investment. We believe our combined investments can achieve more.

“Through increased and improved partnerships between the government, Development Partners, academic and research institutes, NGOs, farmer organisations and the private sectors we should be able to increase our overall impact to the benefit of the sector and the farming population,” further stated.

Accountability

During review meeting, the Civil Society Agriculture Network (CISANET) presented a report on the contribution to the ASWAp investment plan following a call by the Minister of Agriculture Irrigation and Water Development Dr Allan Chiyembekeza of increased accountability from the Non State Actors (NSAs).

CISANET National Director Tamani Nkhono-Mvula who presented the findings stated that 53.46 percent support in the 2014/15 financial year was given towards food security and risk management, confirming the picture as stated by Bosscher who indicated that the overall sector investments are heavily biased towards component of food security.

Agri-business and market development was the second most supported pillar at 15 percent followed by Sustainable land and water management at 11 percent.

He however noted that there is lack of awareness of the ASWAp by some of the organisations as such it was a challenge for some NSAs to determine best fit for their projects according to the ASWAp pillars.

Mainstay

Meanwhile, Government has reiterated that agriculture continues to be the mainstay of Malawi’s economy as such the Government of Malawi is committed to improving the performance of the agricultural sector to ensure food and nutrition security, increased incomes, reduction in poverty and contribution to overall economic growth.

Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development Dr Allan Chiyembekeza explained that a transformed agricultural sector cannot happen without a deliberate and intensified prioritisation of agriculture in resource allocation and investments.

“It is against this background that during the period under review (2014/15), the Government of Malawi allocated 14.7% of its total budget to the sector which is above the 10 percent CAADP target under the Maputo and Malabo Declarations.

Chiyembekeza however noted that performance of the previous growing season is clear evidence that Malawi’s agriculture is very prone to climate change.

“This makes it difficult to predict that if we make investments that are dependent on rain, planned outcomes would be achieved. It is therefore, imperative that we give serious attention to irrigation farming which is under one of the priority focus areas in ASWAp – the Sustainable Agriculture Land and Water Management.

“Currently, we have a large financing gap for irrigation sub sector for us to attain the set targets. I therefore, wish to call upon our development partners and all other agencies out there to increase funding for irrigation infrastructure development,” he said.

The Agriculture Joint Sector Review provides an opportunity to sector players to account for the resources as well as results achieved together and reflect and deliberate on key issues affecting in the sector.

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8 thoughts on “$500m invested in Malawi agriculture sector”

  1. If this massive investment is truly going to be used to address issues of “food and nutrition security”, then it’s time to move past our addiction to the monocropping of maize, and bring agricultural production systems in line with Malawi’s 6-food group model for the healthy growth and development of the nation. Beginning with the implementation of FISP in 2005, Malawi saw 8 consecutive growing seasons of surplus maize harvests (yes, we actually over-produced ‘food’), but with no resulting decrease in our staggering 47% nutritional ‘stunting’ rate. The monocropping of one high-carbohydrate, low-nutrient food has left Malawi’s soils compacted and infertile, greatly contributing to the climatic impacts of floods and drought; It has moved us away from nutritional diversity and towards expensive ‘medicinal’ fortification and supplementation programmes; and, it has created a situation where the integration of hundreds of highly-nutritious, open-pollinated, well-adapted, and naturally-resilient traditional crops have become stigmatized as ‘poor people’s food’ and are therefore overlooked, ignored, and shunned. There are countless locally-available, low-cost, and sustainable solutions which exist for turning Malawi’s tropical 12-month growing season into year-round ‘Garden of Eden’, but governmental policies, investment schemes, and extension services need to begin to reflect this reality.

  2. Sake Chilling says:

    You would expect that the Green Belt would be activated now with that amount of money. Get experts from any of the development partners to have the requisite infrastructure installed and have it kick-started. In Kamuzu’s days, he had the Taiwanese run the rice irrigation schemes in the country. Why not go a similar route?

  3. Zuze says:

    Ma allowance a ma officials a ku Capital Hill ndalama zimenezo.

  4. Tina says:

    Accountability watch. Please Donors provide us donation for checking these money yourselves although I don’t know how. I know it’s very awkward situation but the more you trust people the more they dissapoint us. No Hope thinking the money will be half pocketed

  5. Malawian Q says:

    WHERE IS THE MONEY PLEASE? THE WHOLE NATION NEED OVERHAUL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. shepherd says:

    Top dogs will benefit more than the actual farmer

  7. Bwampini says:

    iiiiiiih ndalama zimezo zibedwa,ma training,allowances,fuel,double salaries eeeeehh ndi kumalawi kuno anthu amapita ku mulanje,mozambique so tha they becime invisible and kutelera ngati milamba..

  8. hallings says:

    this is exciting news to the agriculture industry in Malawi.

Comments are closed.