Government is encouraging all farmer organizations in Malawi to adopt the business approach to agriculture through, among others, organising farmers around ‘cooperatives’, which could contribute sustainably towards agriculture commercialisation, Agriculture Irrigation and Water Development Minister, Kondwani Nankhumwa has said.
Nankhumwa said this in Blantyre on Wednesday, September 26 2019, when he officially opened the 16th National Agriculture Fair on at Chichiri Trade Fair Grounds.
He said besides food security, agriculture accounts for nearly 30% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), 80% of the total export earnings and employs over 64% of the country’s workforce, according to the minister.
The minister said government is making all efforts to enable the country to graduate from primary industry.
“Success of these efforts will depend on the performance of all stakeholders in the agriculture sector,” said Nankhumwa.
The theme of this year’s Trade Fair is “Agricultural Commercialization: Basis for Agri-based Industrialization”, which, the minister said was relevant to the current commercialisation drive by our Government and private sector.
He said, “under the dynamic and wise leadership of President Peter Mutharika”, government is placing highest priority on agriculture sector growth and development. Government is fully committed to improving the agriculture sector’s performance for increased food, nutrition and income security with a view to achieving overall economic growth and reducing poverty in this country, he stressed.
“Let me urge our development partners to support technological development, infrastructure, and value addition for enterprises with potential for growth like banana, livestock, fisheries rather than concentrating on the software support and traditional enterprises.
“To reap from the demographic dividends, we need to deliberately pay attention to the youth and women who form majority of the country’s population but are often not fully supported by different stakeholders in development,” said the minister.
He said government supporting the youth by orienting them to entrepreneurship and that the trained youth are ready to utilise entrepreneurial skills and knowledge to venture into serious agribusiness.
“The future of agriculture and development in this country depends on investment in entrepreneurship and the youth who have potential to create own employment and contribute towards socio-economic development of Malawi,” he said.
Nankhumwa, who is also Leader of Government Business in Parliament, disclosed that in support of the agriculture commercialization drive, government had secured funds to the tune of USD95.0 million to implement the Agriculture Commercialization Project across the country.
Government is selecting viable projects from farmer organizations for financing either through grants or partial credit guarantee, he said.
With support from partners, the Ministry of Agriculture is implementing several other projects aimed at achieving the commercialisation goal, which include the Shire River Transformation Programme (SVTP); Agriculture Infrastructure and Youth in Agribusiness Project (AIYAP), according to Nankhumwa.
Nankhumwa said after taking a tour of the pavilions at the fair, he was impressed with the quality of exhibits and congratulated exhibitors “for a job well done”.
“I expect improvements every year because I am very sure that the quality of products and services exhibited here has a direct impact on the business deals, which are clinched at Fairs like this one. May I challenge all exhibitors that next year, we should see different innovative ideas, services and products.
“Let me urge all farmers in the country to adopt different innovations and technologies that have been developed, some of which have seen exhibited at this agriculture fair,” he said.
Other speakers at the event were President of the Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI, Prince Kapondamgaga and Secretary for Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, Gray Nyandule-Phiri.
Deputy Defence Minister Chipiliro Mpinganjira, who is also MP for the area (Blantyre Central), Chairman for the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture Sameer Suleman and Mayor for the City of Blantyre Wild Ndipo were among other high-profile officials who attended the colourful event.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :