Mutharika launches US$95m agriculture commercialization : Minister Nankhumwa bemoans violent demos

President Peter Mutharika has said agriculture remains the mainstay of Malawi economy thus government will ensure that the agriculture sector is significantly transformed.

President Mutharika officially launched the Agriculture Commercialization Project
President Mutharika with Minister of Agriculture Nankhumwa at the launch of US$95 million AGCOM Project with financial loan from the World Bank
Some of the dignitaries at the launch
Some of the dignitaries at the launch

He made the remarks at the Bingu International Convention Centre (BICC) in Lilongwe on Friday when he officially launched the Agriculture Commercialization Project (AGCOM).

The President said it was therefore imperative that any economic development strategies towards economic development and prosperity should start with transforming the agricultural sector.

Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development is implementing the US$95 million AGCOM Project with financial loan from the World Bank. It is a nation-wide project and will run for six years until 2023.

President Mutharika said AGCOM is aimed at transforming the agricultural smallholder sub-sector from currently subsistence to commercial orientation.

“Malawi is now moving beyond subsistence agriculture into commercial agriculture.

“Our agriculture way of life has been growing food; let agriculture be our way life for creating new wealth,” he said, adding that through the project, farmers, through organized associations, will have access to financing, well-structured markets and improved feeder roads.

He said currently most Malawians do not have enough capital to invest in agriculture and those that are able to, do not have access to markets, apart from poor storage and processing systems and poor transportation network.

President Mutharika thanked the World Bank, through Country Representative, Greg Toulmin, for the loan, asking all stakeholders to put the funds to intended use “because we will have to pay back, eventually”.

Speaking earlier, Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, Kondwani Nankhumwa, said AGCOM is consistent the President’s vision of transforming Malawi from being mostly a consuming and importing to producing and exporting country.

“AGCOM is aimed at increasing productivity and diversifying both the food and export base of this country. In this regard, the main objective is to increase commercialization of agricultural value chain products.

“These agricultural value chain products are products of farms and agribusinesses, including crop, livestock, and fisheries products sold domestically or exported, with or without processing, depending on market requirements,” said Nankhumwa.

The project, according to the minister, is being implemented by supporting the integration of small-scale and emerging farmers into value chains by improving their capacity to finance and execute productivity-enhancing investments and respond to the requirements of end-markets and buyers (off-takers).

“In this regard, the small and medium scale farmers, agro-dealers and other input suppliers, aggregators and buyers (retailers, wholesalers, processors and exporters) are organized together into a ‘Productive Alliance’ (PA).

“Therefore, unlike other previous interventions, producers under AGCOM will strictly be producing for the markets with clear understanding of the market’s quality demands and ready off-takers to absorb what is produced,” said Nankhumwa.

He said AGCOM will train and build smallholder associations into vibrant cooperatives in order to establish and enforce a business mindset.

Nankhumwa said implementation of the project has already started and there is good progress so far.

“With leadership from my ministry together with support from other ministries such as Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism, Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development and other stakeholders such as Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI), Farmers Union of Malawi (FUM), CISANET and Malawi Bureau of Standards (MBS), the AGCOM Project Implementation Unit has managed to put in place all systems that are supporting the establishment of the Productive Alliances,” he said.

Earlier, Nankhumwa, who is also Leader of Government Business in Malawi Parliament, condemned acts of violence that have accompanied what were supposed to be ‘peaceful demonstrations’, saying such acts were derailing President Mutharika’s efforts to develop the country.

He cited various development projects that the President has championed, including a superb road network, but said all this is being destroyed by irresponsible citizens acting in the name of peaceful demonstrations.

“But I can assure Your Excellency that all this storm shall calm down and we shall prosper, as a nation, in the name of the almighty God,” he said.

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Ching'anyi
Ching'anyi
10 months ago

This is the way to go if the country is to be self-reliant in food production. No one from outside can develop the country apart from its own citizens. There is need also to resolve issues of low prices eg Tobacco, tea, cotton etc. The campaign of buy Malawi product should be intensified as this will encourage producers to produce more cos ready market will be available for them. Imports of agriculture produce should be restricted and only those that are not available in the country can be allowed.

BigMan
BigMan
10 months ago

The most useless President Malawi has ever hard. Cant lead from the front, no innovation, no inspiration. Nothing there.

Mulopwana
10 months ago

Koma msima ndi yovuta kuti uphikedi wekha eti? Most pple depend on others for supplies and not their own. Kikiki

Mboba
Mboba
10 months ago

Zoona mulungu amakonda wina aliyense, even mbava ngati sanayigwire, yimati “Mulungu wandithandiza”

Mwana wa Anabanda
Mwana wa Anabanda
10 months ago

Please guy don’t steal the money. Don’t give the loans to every Zembani, and Zondani. Give it to people with a proven track record in the villages but also avoid giving the loans to your kinsmenn

Dr. Mvuma
Dr. Mvuma
10 months ago

Superb Road Network. Which one? Malawi roads are the worst in the SADC Region. We should be ashamed of ourselves.

Joloza
10 months ago
Reply to  Dr. Mvuma

You are a liar. If you want to see worst roads go to Zimbabwe my friend. You don’t know what you are talking about. Do your research again.

wakikiki
wakikiki
10 months ago

Nde mubapo zingati pamemepo chifukwa ndi chikhalidwe chanu kukolola pa amphawi ife a malawi nkumazabweza chingongolecho pamene sitinadyepo nkomwe

Mayeso
Mayeso
10 months ago

Put strong controls so that the loan benefits everyone not just top officials and politicians

braveheart
10 months ago

Ulemu wanu munthu wamkulu!

Nyaphapi One
10 months ago

I have been farming for 52 years. I am still farming.

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