Civil Society Agriculture Network (CISANET) has urged District Agricultural Development Offices (DADOs) to be transparent and accountable by involving stakeholders and non-state actors in the process of formulating agriculture budgets at the district level.
CISANET Head of Programmes, Alfred Kambwiri, made the remarks in Mchinji when he made a presentation on recently launched National Agriculture Investment Plan (NAIP) policy.
With funding from Oxfam in Malawi, CISANET is popularising NAIP among various stakeholders in the agricultural divisions of Lilongwe, Karonga, Mzuzu, Phalombe and Mulanje.
Kambwiri told participants to the awareness raising meeting in Mchinji that the annul financial deficits DADOs are facing are a result of the lack of transparency and accountability in the formulation and implementation of the district agriculture budgets.
“I believe that some of the challenges the agricultural sector is facing could have been resolved if DADOs if you were transparent at the time you were formulating your budget. If you involve them during budget formulation process, stakeholders would appreciate the financial difficulties the sector is facing; and, hence, they would be eager to be part and parcel of the resource-mobilisation initiative when there is a shortfall in your budgets,” he said.
Kambwiri assured that engaging and involving stakeholders in the formulation of the budgets could resolve some of the challenges the sector is facing at the district level.
“By sidelining stakeholders, the districts lose valuable inputs that could enrich district budgets and make them more practical. I therefore urge you to seriously consider starting involving stakeholders in the processes of budget formulation,” Kambwiri emphasised.
The Mchinji District Director of Planning and Development (DPD), Raphael Munthali, welcomed the suggestion, saying they will consider engaging stakeholders when formulating a budget for the next financial year.
“This is a welcome suggestion. And we pledge to work with our stakeholders in this regard,” said Munthali.