Seed Trade Association of Malawi (STAM) and the Fertilizer Association of Malawi (FAM) have hailed former Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, Joseph Mwanamvekha for his excellent and exceptional contribution towards the sector during his term of office.
STAM General Secretary, Nessimu Nyama made the recognition on Friday in Blantyre during a farewell dinner organised by partners in the agricultural sector to recognise Mwanamvekha, noting that the minister worked hard to revitalise the seed industry through the formulation of seed policy.
“We commend him for working so hard so that we should have the new seed policy and the Seed Bill which by the next sitting of the National Assembly will become the new Seed Act.
“The Seed Policy that we have been using was outdated as it was formulated in 1996 and some of the issues were not applicable. For instance, penalties given when people have been caught faking seed were not deterrent enough,” he said.
However, Nyama said the new Seed Policy and the Act itself has come up with stiffer punishments for those making fake seeds in the country.
He added that the former minister also cleared the K3.8 billion arrears that government owed seed companies during his tenure of office.
“In 2014, government owed seed companies close to K3.8 billion in arrears that were accrued under the supply of seed in the Farm Input Subsidy Program (FISP),” he said. “Just after being appointed minister, he promised to clear the arrears and indeed, he did.”
Fertilizer Association of Malawi (FAM) Chairperson, Dimitri Giannakis said under the guidance of Mwanamvekha in the recent years, the agriculture ministry managed to perform very well especially under the FISP.
“He was very practical, approachable and listened to the industry and all these attributes enabled him to address a number of issues with much ease,” said Giannakis.
In his remarks, Mwanamvekha expressed gratitude for the gesture, attributing the success to the whole ministry for strongly supporting each other which necessitated all the achievements.
“The recognition that has been made today is not for me alone, but the whole good team at the ministry,” said Mwanamvekha.
Mwanamvekha, therefore, concurred that the ministry indeed managed subsidy programs effectively such that the coupons and fertiliser were made available to farmers in good time.
“There are so many bills that I took to parliament like the Tobacco Industry Bill, Pesticides Bill and the Seed Policy. But all this was achieved largely because we worked as a unit,” he added.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :