Govt launches Agribusiness Deal Room to spur agricultural growth, economic prosperity

The Minister of Agriculture Lobin Lowe has said the launch of Agribusiness Deal Room in Malawi will facilitate engagement of key players in the agricultural sector and the Malawi economy so that they strike partnerships to drive agricultural growth and in turn propel economic prosperity.

The theme of the Agribusiness Deal Room is ‘Bold Actions for increasing investments to Malawi’s Agribusiness Development’.

Lowe said with over 80 percent of Malawians employed in agriculture, Malawi can no longer afford to play jokes with agribusiness development.

The minister made the sentiments on Wednesday evening when he led a high-level delegation from Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), government and local non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in launching the room at the Capital Hotel in Lilongwe.

Agri Minister Lobin Lowe–Photo by Watipaso Mzungu, Nyasa Times

Lowe said the launch of the Agribusiness Deal Room signifies the commitment by President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera and his government to ensuring that there is adequate engagement to address challenges facing agricultural development in Malawi.

“I am therefore glad that today I can witness the launch of this Agribusiness Deal Room that will allow us as key players in the agricultural sector and the Malawi economy engage and strike partnerships to drive agricultural growth and in turn propel economic prosperity,” he said, adding that the Chakwera administration is committed to achieving food security and shared economic prosperity for the people of Malawi as outlined in our Malawi 2063 Agenda.

Lowe said to achieve this, agriculture commercialization and industrialization will be key in delivering government wishes to the people.

According to the minister, the theme of the Agribusiness Deal Room resonates well with the aspirations of the ministry and of President Chakwera to build a prosperous Malawi for all.

“For the past two years that we have been in office we have focused on building the foundation. With support from partners such as AGRA we have embarked on serious policy reforms all of which aim at creating a conducive environment for trade in the agriculture sector. As I am talking, we are reviewing the National Agriculture Policy to align it to our long term ambitions in Malawi 2063,” he said.

He further stated that his ministry is also in the process of developing the Fertilizer Bill and the Crops Bill, which is the amalgamation of the Special Crops Act and General Purposes Act.

At this point, Lowe assured private partners that the government will look into the concerns raised on the Crops Bill.

Speaking earlier, AGRA Board Chairpersons Hailemariam Dessalegn said Agribusiness Deal Room supports enterprises and governments through a combination of in-country project preparation, pipeline development, project bankability, investment promotion, and discussions regards the enabling environment for African agribusiness sector.

Dessalegn – who is also the former Prime Minister of Ethiopia – stated that the deal room in-country launch will provide an opportunity for Malawi to showcase both public and private sector opportunities to investors, financial institutions, development partners and other stakeholders looking for partnerships.

“Beyond the showcase, it will also be an opportunity to deepen the engagement with these actors and mobilize increased investment and partnerships to the country. Agribusiness Deal Room facilitates substantive transaction-centered dialogue and connections amongst key stakeholders including enterprises, farmers, governments, investors, financial institutions, NGOs and development partners,” he said.

Dessalegn disclosed that the past 2021 Agribusiness Deal Room hosted strong country delegations of both governments and private sector who presented investment opportunities in the agriculture sector from across the continent.

He said these opportunities received significant investor interest from a wide range of investors and partners in the landscape.

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