Nankhumwa says Malawi govt to resuscitate cotton sub-sector, launches strategies

Government on Friday, November 1 2019, launched the Malawi Cotton Development Strategy (MCDS) and the 2018/2019 to 2022/2023 Strategic Plan for the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development.

Nankhumwa: MCDS is a strategic framework to guide development of the cotton sub-Sector in Malawi
Norwegian Ambassador, Steinar Hagen
PS for agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, Gray Nyandule Phiri
Nankhumwa visiting Seed-Co Malawi seed production fields,

Presiding over the official launch at Bingu International Convention Centre (BICC) in the capital, Lilongwe, Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, Kondwani Nankhumwa said the implementation of MCDS is expected to revitalize the cotton sub-sector and allow it to return to optimal and consistent levels of production that can adequately support upstream value chain activities.

“Through the adoption of high-yielding and high-quality cotton varieties, irrigated cotton production and the implementation of a structured marketing system, the cotton sub-sector has the potential to be a valuable source of income for all cotton value-chain players. Furthermore, the cotton subsector is an opportunity for the agriculture sector to diversify into high value-added activities through agro-processing and manufacturing,” said Nankhumwa.

The minister then underscored the need for effective collaboration in implementation of the strategy.

“Achievement of the strategic objectives will require concerted efforts of all stakeholders. These include farmers, government, donor partners, non-governmental organizations, financing institutions, farmer-based organizations and relevant support institutions. I urge all of us to fully support implementation of the strategy for the benefit of the whole nation.

“The development of the cotton subsector is at the heart of government as it directly impacts over 300,000 farmers who rely on cotton for their income and livelihoods in the sixteen major cotton growing districts in the country,” said Nankhumwa.

He added  that cotton is also a crop that has potential to contribute significantly to national foreign exchange earnings, import substitution, employment creation and overall economic growth and development,” he said.

The minister noted that despite cotton’s potential benefits to Malawi, there has been low cotton production levels in recent times due to low yields per unit area, poor access to production inputs, climate change and farmers’ perceptions of low farm gate prices, among others. He said this low production has made the crop less attractive for investments by garments and textile industries.

“Government therefore, considered it imperative to resuscitate production to the more attractive levels in order to derive meaningful benefits from the cotton industry.

“Today marks an important point of departure for the cotton subsector in the country, as we launch the Malawi Cotton Development Strategy,” said Nankhumwa.

He said MCDS is a strategic framework to guide development of the cotton sub-Sector in Malawi through the period 2019/2020 to 2024/2025 growing seasons.

“The foundation of this strategy is the Cotton Act of 2013, which established Cotton Council of Malawi (CCM) as a regulator of the cotton subsector. The MDCS is also aligned with the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy Number 3, National Agriculture Policy and National Agriculture Investment Plan.

“It is envisaged that the cotton subsector, guided by this strategy, has the potential to significantly contribute to agricultural transformation in Malawi,” he said.

Turning to the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development Strategic Plan, Nankhumwa said it provides strategic directions for the ministry to ensure that all implemented activities are pursuing the intended goal and outlines actions to be implemented in line with the ministry’s vision of creating ‘a nation with sustainable agricultural production and productivity, water and sanitation for all’.

Other high-profile officials who attended the event included PS for agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, Gray Nyandule Phiri, Norwegian Ambassador, Steinar Hagen, Board chairman for Cotton Council of Malawi, Martin Mpata, Executive Director, Cotton Council of Malawi, Cosmas Luwanda and CEO for, Africa Institute of Corporate Citizenship(AICC), Dr. Felix Lombe.

Later in the afternoon, Nankhumwa visited Seed-Co Malawi seed production fields, offices and depot at Kanengo, Lilongwe.

He expressed satisfaction with the level of preparedness of the company to provide quality and affordable seeds during the coming planting season, especially under the government’s FISP programme.

Minister Nankhumwa said he would also be visiting other Seed-Co Malawi depots across the country.

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