Experts want Malawi gov’t to prioritize Horticulture

Horticulture experts and farmers have asked Malawi government to prioritize horticulture farming to meet the high demand and increase horticulture commodities production.

The plea was made by various farmers and horticulture experts at the end of a two day workshop organized by The World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) at Golden Peacock Hotel in Lilongwe.

The workshop was aimed at discussing the technical quality standard and guidelines that will help nursery operators to implement the voluntary certification system of fruit seeds in Malawi.

Speaking at the function, Lilongwe Central parliamentarian Lobin Lowe asked the government to establish a regulatory body to monitor all horticulture farmers in order to improve the quality of seeds as well
as fruits and vegetables produce.

Lowe-standing fourt from right (front row). Photo courtesy of Godfrey Chisusu, Icraf

Lowe-standing fourt from right (front row). Photo courtesy of Godfrey Chisusu, Icraf

“It is my dream that something needs to be done; there are so many challenges and as I am talking we do not have even any regulatory body” said Lowe.

“There is so little and almost no any funding towards horticulture farming; this automatically shows that the government does not prioritize horticulture farming but end up spending billions on other programmes like Farm input Subsidy Programme (FISP) which is a long term thing,” he added.

He however revealed that he together with fellow horticulture farmer’s fight to make sure that a guideline and introduction of nursery certification commence soon.

Speaking on behalf of the Malawi government, Director of Crops Department Dr. Godfrey Ching’oma who was the guest of honour on behalf of the Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture confessed that the standards of horticulture sector are indeed dwindling.

He said horticulture industry is a serious sector that can help the country both “economically and nutritionally”.

Ching’oma therefore called upon all stakeholders to join hands to improve the sector.

“We need to put our heads together to make sure that the sector thrives” said Ching’oma.

Other speakers at the workshop said it is a worrisome development to see most of local chain stores importing small things like mangoes among others from outside.

The World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) with funding from the Irish Aid Malawi has been implementing a four-year nation-wide programme known as the Agroforestry Food Security Programme (AFSP) in 11 districts and eight Agricultural Development Divisions (ADDs): Shire Valley, Blantyre, Machinga, Lilongwe, Salima, Kasungu, Mzuzu, and Karonga ADDs since its inception in January 2007.

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