Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development Kondwani Nankhumwa has said while farm inputs contribute to enhanced agriculture productivity, recommended agronomic practices have to be followed if Malawian smallholder farmers were to significantly benefit from these inputs.
He made the remarks when he presided over donation by his ministry of two metric tonnes of maize seed and 124 bags of fertilizer to Mdapepuka Farmer’s Association in Dowa on Tuesday, November 26, 2019, 2019. Smallholder Farmers Fertilizer Revolving Fund of Malawi (SFFRFM) and Seed Co Malawi provided the fertilizer and seeds, respectively.
The minister called upon officers in his ministry to provide adequate extension and advisory services not only to the association, but all other farmers, to ensure real high agriculture production in the country, especially considering that agriculture is Malawi’s economic backbone.
Nankhumwa, who is also Leader of Government Business in Malawi Parliament, said his ministry is committed to developing agriculture through organized farmer organizations such as associations and cooperatives.
“For such groups to be vibrant, they need some start-up capital. Since government cannot manage to provide start-up capital to all farmer groups, we greatly appreciate when the private sector complements our efforts. The donation of maize seed and fertilizer that we are making today is the manifestation of the commitment that the private sector has in complementing government efforts.
“I, therefore, would like to thank Smallholder Farmers Fertilizer Revolving Fund of Malawi (SFFRFM) and Seed Co Malawi Limited, for this kind gesture,” said the minister, adding that he is proud of what the private sector is doing in complementing government efforts.
However, Nankhumwa said it was not the intention of government to make farmers groups dependent on external assistance, but rather to provide a springboard for them to sustain themselves.
“In this regard, I would like to call upon members of Mdapepuka Association to make good use of this donation,” he said.
Dowa Central MP (Malawi Congress Party), Darlington Harawa and Senior Chief Dzoole thanked government for creating an enabling environment for the of development of the agriculture sector.
Theyt hanked SFFRFM and Seed Co for the donations , which he said would go a long way to helping members of the association realize bumper yields this season.
Secretary for Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, Grey Nyandule-Phiri and Director of Crop Development in the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, Dr. Godfrey Ching’oma also attended the event on Tuesday.
On October 15, 2019 in Migowi, Phalombe, Nankhumwa officially launched the 2019/20 Farm Inputs Subsidy Programme (FISP), which aims at achieving food self-sufficiency and increased income of resource-poor farming households through increased maize and legume production.
This year’s programme will help farmers access basal and top dressing fertilizers for maize, cereal seeds (maize rice and sorghum), and legume seed (groundnuts, beans, soya beans, pigeon peas and cowpeas). The FISP targets 900,000 resource poor farm families this year.
“Government will make available 90,000 metric tons (MT) of fertilizer for maize, rice and sorghum, 4,500 MT of certified maize seed, 30 MT of sorghum seed, 50 MT of rice seed and over 900 MT of certified legume seed,” Nankhumwa announced at the launch, emphasizing
Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika’s administration puts household and national food security on top of its development agenda.