Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, Kondwani Nankhumwa, has requested President Peter Mutharika to consider setting aside a ‘National Farmers Day’ to celebrate farmers hard work and their significant contribution towards national social and economic growth.
He was speaking at Chikwawa Community Centre Ground on Wednesday, March 11, 2020 when President Arthur Peter Mutharika officially launched the Shire Valley (Irrigation) Transformation Programme (SVTP).
Nankhumwa said Malawi cannot have “one without the other”, when it comes to agriculture and the economy, and, therefore, proposed to the President that every year, Malawians should join farmers in celebrating “their own special day”.
“Smallholder farmers, huge estate owners and farmer organizations have, in cohort, requested for a special day to celebrate farming. I humbly relay that request for Your Excellency’s consideration,” said the minister, putting it to the the President that should he grant the request, the National Farmers Day could either be a national holiday or merely a special day for celebration.
Nankhumwa noted that Malawi’s economy remains agro-based, with agriculture accounting for more than 80 percent of export earnings and 38 percent to the GDP. Time had come that government has genuine farmers best interests at heart by fully recognizing and promoting agriculture as an integral part of the economy, he said.
“Your Excellency, we must strengthen the agriculture sector in order to produce enough food and to increase the sector’s contribution to the economic growth,” said the minister who also serves as Leader of Government Business in Parliament.
The youthful minister noted that agriculture is the world’s oldest and important profession, “which dates back to the days of Adam and Eve” thus it is only proper to specially recognize the role farming and farmers have played and continue to play.
“Your Excellency, it is uncontestable that farmers in Malawi have remained one of the highest contributors to economic growth. Year after year, farmers have fed us as a nation and have brought into the country the much needed forex. The requested National Farmers Day would therefore motivate them to work even harder,” he said.
Nankhumwa proposed that the National Farmers Day should be held at the end of the annual harvesting period where farmers converge at one place for a national event and at local level in all districts to celebrate the hard work they put into growing their crops.
President Mutharika officially launched the multibillion Kwacha 14-year SVTP, which is being implemented with financial support from the Government of Malawi, the World Bank, the African Development Bank, OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID), Nigerian Trust Fund and the Global Environmental Facility (GEF).
The total amount for Phase I of the Programme is about US$234 million, which will enable the development the scheme up to Lengwe National Park.
The Project will abstract water from Kapichira Falls on Shire River, convey it by gravity through a canal down to Bangula in Nsanje and distribute this water to smallholder and commercial farmers.
A total of about 43, 370 hectares of land are expected to be under irrigation in Chikwawa and Nsanje. This will benefit over 220,000 smallholder and commercial farmers directly.
According to the Agriculture minister, at its completion, the Shire Valley Irrigation Transformation Project will transform the area, comprising Chikwawa and Nsanje districts, into Malawi’s food basket.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :