Malawi President Joyce Banda used her state of the nation address to announce the restructuring of the state grain marketer, Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (ADMARC).
Banda explained that over the years, ADMARC had not performed to the expectation of many Malawians due to a MK6 billion debts it had.
“My Government has decided to restructure ADMARC so that it becomes viable and deliver on its mandate,” the Malawi leader who once served as chairperson of the Admarc board told parliament on Friday.
Social functions of Admarc involve the running of rural markets for farm inputs as well as produce which are not commercially viable due to low trade volumes and high transportation costs.
Banda also told the House that her administration will continue intensifying crop production by among other things maintaining the farm input subsidy programme.
She also said her government will enhance irrigation and livestock farming.
Banda explained in the 2011/2012 growing season, about 1.4 million farming families benefited from the subsidy programme. The number rose in the 2012/2012 farming season where 1.5 families received cheap farming commodities.
“The agricultural sector is the key source of growth and employment in the country. It accounts for about 36 per cent of GDP, 87 per cent of total employment and supplies more than 65 per cent of the raw material requirements for the manufacturing sector. It also feeds our nation and is central to our efforts to reduce poverty,” said Banda.
“Under the Farm Input Subsidy Programme (FISP), my Government increased the number of beneficiaries from 1.4 million in 2011/2012 to 1.5 million in 2012/2013 fiscal year. As a result, maize production is estimated to increase from about 3.5 million metric tons in the previous season to 3.6 million metric tons this year. This represents a 1.5 percent increase.”
President Banda added that her government would also establish a special loan scheme for farm inputs called Farm Input Loan Program (FILM). This, the President said would be a public private partnership programme where private sector will offer loan facilities for inputs to deserving and qualifying farmers so that production of maize and other crops is scaled up and enhance the country’s food security, household incomes and export earnings.
In addition, President Banda said she will continue with some of the programmes that she has started citing a cow a family project and the two crops programme.
“One of the challenges Malawi faces is low agricultural production. To address this challenge, my Government is promoting two crops a year through expanded irrigation.
“Government is also aware and appreciates the important role that the livestock sector plays in our economy. Livestock contributes 11 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and about 38 percent overall agricultural production to GDP,” she explained.
European Union (EU) Ambassador to Malawi, Alexander Baum, commenting in the address, advised government to focus much on agro-production to sustain the economic recovery.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :