MCCCI touts Malawi agriculture fair, catalyst to industrialization

The Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI) has said agriculture could be a catalyst for industrialization if only efforts to mechanize the industry and proper use of farm inputs were stepped up.

In his presentation at a press briefing aimed at disseminating messages on the importance of the forthcoming Agriculture Fair in Blantyre, MCCCI Chief Executive Officer, Chancellor Kaferapanjira reckoned that the country has not done enough on issues of the availability of tractors and proper utilization of fertilizers in agriculture.

As of 2010 Malawi had 6 tractors per every 100 square kilometers on average, a figure which according to Kaferapanjira, is likely to decrease in this year’s analysis.

“The continued use of primitive farming methods like hoes other than tractors has eluded the country of the highest crop yield it would have been experiencing,” said Kaferapanjira.

Kaferapanjira:

He said this has resulted in a 0.5 percent utilization of arable land out of a possible 58 percent which would have been giving Malawi optimum yield.

The Chambers’ CEO deplored the country’s under utilization of fertilizers arguing it does not give a clear reflection of the country’s efforts of maximizing its productivity.

“The country only used 26.6 kilograms (kg) of fertilizes on average per hector between 2007 and 2009 compared to India’s 168 kg, Brazil’s 241kg and Japan’s 235kg per hector on average,” explained Kaferapanjira.

Kaferapanjira stressed the need for the country to improve agriculture value addition per worker to make full use of the large number of country men and women engaged in farming.

As of 2010, the country only had 169 value additions per worker according to the Chamber’s CEO, compared to Zambia’s 214 and South Africa’s 3,662.

“The country’s agriculture productivity is very low compared to the number of workers employed or engaged in agriculture, hence the need to improve the ratio of agriculture value addition,” said Kaferapanjira

He urged individuals, companies and organizations to take advantage of the 9th agriculture fair slated for August 23 to 25 to learn from experts in respective fields on how to improve the trend.

The agriculture fair which, according to Kaferapanjira, is improving lives of most participants since its inception, intends to lobby authorities on policy related matters so that measures are put in place to ensure productivity.

“The fair is intended to address agricultural challenges through advocacy messages on the need to improve Malawi’s performance in productivity parameters.

“By bringing together important stakeholders in the agriculture value chain, we expect that patrons will benefit from each other in addressing deterrents to industrialization through agriculture,” elaborated Kaferapanjira.

Apart from displays in 85 designated open and closed stands, the fair, whose theme is ‘Agriculture Productivity: The Foundation to Industrialization’, will also facilitate conferences that will involve different gurus from all sectors taking part, according to Kaferapanjira.

So far, the Chamber has 50 confirmed participants who will occupy 80 pavilions whose allocation is based on the agricultural chain namely research and development, producers, input suppliers, buyers and processors of agriculture produce and service providers.

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