The Civil Society Agriculture Network (CISANET) says Malawi’s neglected livestock sector can be revived and become more beneficial to small holder farmers and the country’s economy if the sector is given policy direction and befiting extension services.
The call has been made by champions of the Livestock, Agriculture and Dairy Development (LADD) thematic area in CISANET’s 2019-2023 strategic plan which was launched in the Capital Lilongwe under the theme; Together for Vibrant Agriculture.
Some member organisations of CISANET have been tasked to champion the LADD thematic area in order to generate keen interest of many other stakeholders to begin to promote investments into livestock production, animal health and welfare in the hope of diversifying farmers livelihoods.
“After all, livestock does not really depend on weather. Can go a long way with very little support,” said Herbert Chagona from Malawi Milk Producers Association and a member of the LADD taskforce team.
Chagona’s presentation disclosed that it is sad that the livestock department always gets the least share of funding within the Ministry of Agriculture budget and has been given only 3.1 percent in the ministry’s current budget.
The presentation noted that this, coupled with lack of a standalone policy to govern the livestock sector and absence of extension services, are leting down the sector.
In his response to the concerns, Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, Kondwani Nankhumwa, who was the guest of honor, concurred with Chagona, promising that government will do something about it.
“In the era of climate change with its effects, our crops are affected. In the event that there are no good rains, farmers can rely on livestock to sustain their lives. In the future budgets government will consider increasing allocation to the livestock sector,” said Nankhumwa.
Other thematic areas of focus in CISANET’s 2019-2023 strategic plan are; Access to Profitable Markets and Nutrition Friendly and Aquaculture Resilience.
CISANET National Director, Pamela Kuwali, said the strategic plan will guide the network in collaborating with government to transform agriculture in the country.
“Everything in the strategic plan is aligned to the National Agriculture Policy (NAP) which is also trying to transform agriculture to the extent that farmers will be able to increase production and access to markets.
“Aligning ourselves to this policy will enable us to work with our member organisations, development partners, private sector and government in developing the agriculture sector,” she said.
According to Kuwali, for the three thematic areas to be achieved and for CISANET to best serve its members, the strategic plan focuses on five key strategic priorities.
These are; mutual accountability and transparency, capacity building for the network’s members, research and policy advocacy, monitoring, learning and evaluation and member engagement, networking and communication.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :