The Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS-USA) delegate, Jeanne Masse expressed gratitude and hope for the Agriculture Initiative program to be undertaken by the Catholic Church in the country in response to Pope Francis’s call to address food insecurity in Africa.
This was said when two delegates from PMS (Missio) USA, John O’Neil and Jeanne Masse visited the country to facilitate the launch of a training program of farm managersat the Catholic University for the Agriculture initiative for Africa. The training aims at equipping the managers with better agricultural techniques and business management skills for the success of the program.
“I was very impressed by the people I met when I visited the farm, I could notice that the managers and the congregations have many great ideas to utilize the idle vast lands the church has. Therefore, this initiative we have launched is very necessary and timely, the enthusiasm, huge expertise and lots of competencies in the people impressed me so much”. Said Jeanne Masse
The delegate assured the church of total support to make sure the initiative achieves its objectives of having great impacts on the people of this country. She also said that PMS USA will help to empower the Church in the country to be self-sustainable by using the land and the enthusiasm well.
“When the Holy Father called for the need to address the hunger problem in Africa, PMS-USA took the initiative to give financial support to those dioceses with land for crop husbandry and animal farming to minimize food insecurity and also to help them do agribusiness to find money for the running of the church. We will also provide loans to Religious communities so that they can improve the way they are utilizing their land, for them to ably carry out their apostolate. In order to improve productivity, we will provide these loans for them to buy farm inputs and agriculture equipment like tractors so that they can scale up their activities and production”. Continued Jeanne
Speaking on the same, the National PMS Director in Malawi Rev Fr. Vincent Mwakhwawa said the church in Malawi is venturing into agribusiness because we are part of the world that struggles with hunger. Considering the land that the church has in Malawi and the opportunity presented by PMS-USA, the Bishops thought it wise to utilize the land in order to provide food for communities and also get financial resources for running of the church.
“Malawi faces the problem of hunger, communities struggle to get food and even the church struggle to feed its members. The church also struggles to get financial resources to do its work of evangelization despite the gift of land that we have. Therefore, this is an opportunity to use the land, feed the people and at the same time generate income for the work of evangelization in the country. This is an opportunity to the church to do mission work through agriculture, a new way of doing mission work” said Fr.Mwakhwawa.
The program is expected to support farms in all diocesesacross the country and it is expected to have great social and environmental impacts in surrounding communities in addition to strengthening the church’s financial capability of spreading the gospel throughout the country and beyond.