Chakwera accepts AGRA Board Chairperson’s proposal to create Malawi’s Agricultural Transformation Agency

Malawi President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera has accepted a proposal from Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) to create an Agricultural Transformation Agency in an effort to promote agricultural transformation in the country.

AGRA Board Chairpersons Hailemariam Dessalegn made the proposal when he paid a courtesy call to President Chakwera on Monday to discuss matters around food system transformation.

President Lazarus Chakwera at BICC-pic by Lisa Kadango Malango

During the meeting, Dessalegn – who is also the former Prime Minister of Ethiopia –recognized Chakwera’s work in advancing agriculture as a key priority for the development of his country, citing the prominent position of the sector in Malawi 2063 first 10 year plan.

He further commended President Chakwera’s leadership in the development and articulation of Malawi’s food system pathways, game changing solutions and commitment to a holistic food system transformation that delivers on the 2030 Agenda.

In proposing the establishment of an Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA) in Malawi, Dessalegn stressed the need for multiple agencies to work together and called for an institution to have a binding effect on delivery.

“ATA is an important institution that IFAD, AGRA, BMGF and McKinsey are supporting to establish to unlock bottlenecks by Malawian institutions… Support can be accessed through the ATA on transforming the economy through the establishment of agro-processing areas to double production and resolve market and processing issues as was experienced in Ethiopia through the ATA,” he said.

In his response, Chakwera described Malawi’s working relationship with AGRA as a great advantage for the nation.

The President said this will enable it not only to feed itself, but also move from subsistence to commercialization.

“So, when you talk of ATA, this is more than welcome, and we could fast track that because local cooperatives and anchor farms will benefit a lot… With AGRA and ATA, we can succeed,” he said.

The discussion also touched on AGRA’s areas of support to the Malawian government, including policy design, flagship development and a food system transformation action plan.

Dessalegn further used the opportunity to invite Chakwera to the AGRF Summit, which is set to take place in Kigali, Rwanda, from September 6-9, an invitation that the President promised to seriously consider despite the stringent restrictions on international travel by his government as a measure for economic rejuvenation.

The meeting came just two weeks after Dessalegn visited Zambia on a three-day trip that saw him hold audience with President Hakainde Hichilema on the strategies for fast-tracking Africa’s food system transformation.

AGRA is a farmer-centered, African-led, partnerships-driven institution that is working to transform smallholder farming from a solitary struggle to survive to a business that thrives. In collaboration with its partners—including African governments, researchers, development partners, the private sector and civil society— AGRA’s work primarily focuses on smallholder farmers – men and women who typically cultivate staple crops on two hectares or less.

AGRA is now recognized across the continent as a strong voice for African rural development, a prosperous agricultural economy, and for supporting thousands of small African businesses and millions of African families to improve agriculture as a way of ensuring food security and transforming their livelihoods.

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