UDF adopts agriculture as its priority growth sector: Atupele talks tough on cashgate

Delegates to Malawi’s opposition United Democratic Front (UDF) two-day national policy conference have identified agriculture as Malawi’s growth sector that should adequately be resourced in order to spur growth of the country’s troubled economy.

The delegates unanimously agreed that although there have been statements by various previous leaders that Malawi was an agricultural economy there had never been heavy investments in the sector to make the country an agro-economy despite its high potential.

“The UDF president [Atupele Muluzi] has said we are not here to re-invent the wheel and using that notion why can’t we organize our agriculture so that it becomes a priority. We need heavy investment in this sector and we can easily make Malawi Africa’s bread basket,” said one participant at the just ended conference which was held in the capital, Lilongwe.

They also agreed to consider putting resources towards mechanization of agriculture value addition through agro-processing so that the country can begin to export food products to the outside word which in turn will boost the country’s foreign exchange.

Atupele Muluzi addressing the conference

To achieve this, the delegates agreed that heavy investments should also be made in other sectors like education to support the agriculture sector.

‘’We need to train extension workers, we need to resource the Lilongwe University of Natural Resources and Agriculture, formerly Bunda, to carry out research of new methods of improving agricultural production,’’ Dave Moyo, one of the participants.

He said the country should not just make Lilongwe University of Natural Resources and Agriculture a teaching facility but also a research centre for agriculture.

However, some delegates suggested that government should create an enabling environment where farmers have access to inputs that will improve quality production.

Other suggestions were that there should be a paradigm shift from taking agriculture as just about maize but also consider diversification and also promote crops that are fetching high prices on the international market.

Closing the  two-day National Policy Conference, UDF president Atupele Muluzi said in remarks broadcast live o Zodiak Broadcasting Service that  the gathering   has achieved its purpose to seek input from economic, social and political experts to formulate a development agenda which could become the party’s 2014 elections manifesto.

Atupele who resigned from Joyce Banda administration as Economic Minister faulted the government for failing to create wealth for all Malawians and managing the economy.

In his opening address, Atupele called on President Banda and Cabinet should take responsibility for the financial plunder that has taken place in the government departments and guarantee funding of investigation and prosecution institutions to clean up the system.

Delegates to the UDF National policy conference

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