Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development Minister, Kondwani Nankhumwa has said government is prioritizing diversification of the country’s food and export base, but it fully realizes the enormity of the task and therefore the need for contribution from other local and international partners to succeed.
Nankhumwa made the remarks on Thursday, November 14 2019, at Bingu International Conference Centre (BICC) in Lilongwe, when he officially opened the Second Agriculture Transformation Initiative (ATI) Summit.
He said government welcomes the contributions of partners such as the ATI towards achieving that goal.
The theme of the Summit is the ‘Role of Inclusive Science, Technology and Innovation in Driving Agricultural Transformation’.
“ATI is supporting identification of alternative value chains and economic opportunities; enhancing productivity and production through investments in science, technology and innovation; facilitating commercialization through innovative financing solutions; focusing on the creation and application of new markets; supporting sustainable business models to improve economic opportunities; and also supporting targeted agricultural policy reforms.
“Agriculture is the backbone of the economy contributing around 30% of the GDP, 90 percent of all export revenue, with tobacco contributing 60% of all export earnings. Yet tobacco continues to experience declining demand on the global market due to anti-smoking campaigns.
“In order to become competitive in global markets, we must bring innovative thinking and innovative minds to engage science and design technologies to help increase non-tobacco productivity, production and incomes. This change must encompass all Malawians including smallholder farmers. This sustainable transformation will also result in improved food and nutrition security and diversified and increased export revenues,” said Nankhumwa.
He said agriculture cannot transform if the nation fails to embrace state-of-the-art science and innovative technologies.
“We feel honored that William Kamkwamba, the boy who harnessed the wind, has joined us today as the keynote speaker, and an honored guest. William’s creation of a windmill from spare parts and scrap in Kasungu, guided only by a library book, tells the story of the innovative power hiding in the bright children and students in our country.
“We hope that our youth will be encouraged to engage their creative minds to help create scientific solutions to challenges in the agriculture sector,” he said, adding that government looks forward to a strong partnership with ATI, and all partners, students, and citizens interested in generating a powerful movement around inclusive science, technology, and innovation.
Other high-profile officials present included the President for the Foundation for a Smoke Free World and his vice, Dr. Derrek Yach and Jim Lutzweiler, respectively, Secretary for Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, Gray Nyandule Phiri, Country Director for the Agriculture Transformation Initiative in Malawi, Dr. Candida Nakhumwa, William Kamkwamba and Chairperson for the National Planning Commission, Professor Richard Mkandawire.
Later, Nankhumwa presided over the official opening of the Lilongwe Water (LWB) Board ‘Infrastructure Investment Financing Conference’ at BICC.
He said while Malawi Government is committed to providing adequate, reliable and sustainable water and sanitation services to Malawians in urban, peri-urban, towns and rural areas, there is an ever-increasing demand for improved and safely managed services.
“One focus area is Lilongwe City, which is facing water and sanitation challenges due to the ever-growing population. The population is expected to grow to 1.5 million by 2021, and to 2.2 million by 2030. This is putting a strain on the city’s services, including water supply,” said the minister.
He said it was therefore imperative for LWB to come up with investment plans to source funds for financing of its projects to address the water situation.
“This is why my ministry is in full support of this conference, which aims to create awareness of the projects the Board would like to implement under the Lilongwe Water Program (LWP), and to court international financing institutions and development partners to finance such a programme.
“I would therefore like to challenge all potential donors participating in this conference, to take this meeting very seriously,” said Nankhumwa.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :