JB opens Malawi trade fair, starts initiative for farm exports

Malawian farmers will soon reap from the benefits of President Joyce Banda’s new farm initiative which aims at promotion export of farm produce. In the face of tough tobacco prices, the initiative will engage farmers to produce and export other crops.

During the official opening of the 24th Malawi International Trade Fair by the Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI), themed ‘Realising our Vision the Export Way’, she also promised that starting next year, she will be part and parcel of the initiative, where groundnuts, soya beans, pigeon peas, and rice, among other crops, will be exported to earn foreign exchange (forex) and better earnings for the farmers.

“This will also enhance the economy of the country. I will also be dealing with women and the youth in encouraging their interest in raising their standards of lives through agriculture and many areas. It is also my wish to fight for good prices for farmers through Admarc,” she said.

President Banda at one of the stands at Trade Fair

The Agriculture Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc), is Malawi’s oldest and biggest public farm produce buyer and outlet.

Banda, who took over Malawi leadership in Aptil, also said she was happy with the improved tobacco prices at the floors.

“Last year farmers were fetching 50 cents and this year it is US$2 and 75 cents,” she added at the Chichiri Trade Fair Grounds in the commercial city of Blantyre.

The event which starts today 25th May wraps up on 3rd June 2012.

There are 30 foreign exhibitors and the public at the official opening included various loyalist women clad in their party colours, including the ruling Peoples Party (PP), United Democratic Front (UDF), Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), and the Malawi Congress Party (MCP), among others.

A darling of the poor and marginalised, Banda who also owns the Joyce Banda Foundation, a charitable agency which empowers poor women and youths and also runs private schools, also asked employers to consider employees in times of problems, particularly funerals.

“Employers must treat employees better. When funerals happen, they should provide all the support and buy coffins and also provide transport to the bereaved family’s last resting place because employees are the ones taking care of your lives,” she advised.

Malawi is a predominantly importing nation that relies on agriculture, with about 90% of the population living in rural areas. Agriculture accounts for 37% of GDP and 85% of export revenues.


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