AGCOM disburses K2.1bn matching grants to Central Region cooperatives

Agricultural Commercialization Project (AGCOM) has disbursed K2.1 billion matching grants to a number of cooperatives from the Central Region.

Speaking when he handed over the cheques in Kasungu recently, AGCOM National Coordinator Ted Nakhumwa said he was impressed with the progress the cooperatives are making in promoting agricultural commercialization in the country.

Maweru handing over the ignition key of the tractor to Mang’amba

Nakhumwa said the grants would further enhance the commercialization drive while AGCOM strives to identify markets for the farmers through these alliances.

He stressed the need for the farmers to have reliable markets for their produce.

AGCOM has set up 212 Cooperatives and 150 have already received their cash using a 30 to 70 percent financing model, where cooperatives contribute 30 percent to qualify for the award of the grants.

“This is another good day in Kasungu where we are disbursing the matching grants to various cooperatives from the Central Region. We are not only disbursing these grants since we are also building the Malawi Bureau of Standards laboratory so that they are able to do their tests on products with speed,” he said.

Nakhumwa disclosed that AGCOM has, so far, disbursed USD16Million.

In his remarks, Principal Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Agriculture, Sandram Maweru, says agricultural commercialization remains a vital area of focus.

Maweru said he was hopeful that the agricultural commercialization drive is moving in the right direction.

“The cheques being distributed here will go a long way in ensuring that farmers graduate from being small scale farmers to commercial ones,” he said.

During the function, AGCOM and the Ministry of Agriculture handed over a K42 million worth of a tractor to Changu Cooperative of Kasungu.

Changu Cooperative Chairperson Hojex Mang’amba commended AGCOM for the tractor, saying it will help to improve production.

However, Mang’amba requested AGCOM to buy them a trailer, lamenting that the cooperative spends a lot of money on transportation of their produce to the markets.

Member of Parliament for the area, Madalitso Kazombo, described what happened as historic in Malawi.

Kazombo said what AGCOM is doing is in line with Malawi’s National Agricultural Policy, which advocates mechanisation.

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