Minister of Agriculture Irrigation and Water Development, Joseph Mwanamveka on Friday visited Malawi-China Agricultural Technical Cooperation Farm in Lilongwe where he moaned the current situation where the country is relying on importing horticultural food including bananas.
Mwanamveka challenged the country’s farmers to increase horticultural farming in order to reverse the situation.
“As Government, we also want to increase horticulture but we are not happy on what we are doing by importing even bananas from abroad,” he said. “We defeat the whole purpose of our determination to be more dominant as an exporting nation than being a dorminantly an importing country.”
Mwanamveka said Malawi is highly dependent on agriculture and shall remain so for many years to come, saying: “This being the case, Government continues to prioritise the agriculture sector and it is one of the key priority areas in the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy (MGDS III).
“The ultimate objective is to turn Malawi from a predominantly importing and consuming nation to a predominantly producing and exporting nation.”
He said for the agriculture sector to develop, there is need for requisite skills and these are mainly acquired through hands on training from places like this Malawi-China Agricultural Technical Cooperation Farm in Lilongwe.
“It is therefore pleasing that the Government of the People’s Republic of China understands our developmental needs and is supporting us accordingly, he said.
He added that Malawi’s major export earner, tobacco, is facing some challenges because of the global anti-smoking lobby and that for this reason, Government through his ministry is advocating for diversification of other commercially viable crops to supplement tobacco.
“One such avenue is horticulture and as we work towards improving this sector, we need specially trained horticulturists who can facilitate production of high quality produce that will be competitive on the international markets. That is why we are very thankful to the Chinese Government through Your Excellency for revamping this centre as this will complement our efforts to improve horticulture in Malawi.”
On his part, Chinese Ambassador to Malawi Hongyang Liu commended Malawi Government’s support which has reaped fruitful results.
The Ambassador said China and Malawi established diplomatic ties 10 years ago and the benefits have been plenty.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :