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Youth vital for Malawi’s agriculture transformation- Nankhumwa
February 21, 2020 / Bester Kayaye

Government says there is need for a majority of Malawi’s young population to play a role in agricultural development if the country is to address food insecurity and expand its export base.

Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development Kondwani Nankhumwa said this on his return from a 3-day long Global Forum on Food and Agriculture (GFFA) Conference held in Berlin, Germany.

“We agreed at the conference that there is no way food security for a nation like Malawi can be achieved if the youth, who form the majority of the population, are not taking an active role in agriculture,” he said.

The conference which was held under the theme “Food for All! Trade for secure, Diverse and Sustainable Nutrition” brought together Agriculture Ministers from 71 countries to discuss long lasting solutions to food insecurity.

Currently more than 820 million people suffer from hunger, and 2.5 billion suffer from some form of micronutrient deficiency, while the world’s population is growing fast and projected to reach nearly 20 billion people by the year 2050.

Nankhumwa told Mining & Trade Review that the conference was vital for Malawi’s Agricultural transformation drive as it has set another benchmark on how the country is fairing in ensuring risks of food insecurity are mitigated.

“We have discussed how trade in food and agricultural commodities and trade in services for Agriculture can contribute towards achieving food security for the world’s increasing population, as well as improving farmer’s livelihoods and income,” he said.

At the conference, it was also observed that most of the strategies governing agricultural sectors in many countries are outdated making it difficult for present farmers to sail through the current waves in the sector brought by numerous natural and technological changes.

Nankhumwa said: “A policy is a living document which must be regularly monitored and changed over time as the world is dynamic.”

“Malawi must follow suite to ensure we are at par with our trade partners and competitors.”

He noted that over the past few years, Malawi has not been able to maximize agricultural production to satisfy the local and international demands which calls for the need for adoption of new policies to advance mechanisation and commercialisation systems.

At the conference, the Ministers had sessions with Agriculture youth representatives from various countries, who presented their petitions lobbying governments to create conducive environment for youth participation in agricultural activities.

Nankhumwa pledged to implement more youth-centred projects to supplement Youth in Agriculture project which his ministry is currently running in some districts.

Agriculture
Malawi to launch agricultural commercialization project
January 08, 2020 / Bester Kayaye

Malawi’s State President Arthur Peter Mutharika will on Friday, January 10, launch the Agricultural Commercialization Project (AGCOM) at Bingu International Convention Centre (BICC) in Lilongwe.

 

Principle Secretary for the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development (MoAIWD) Gray Nyandule-Phiri says in a statement that the project is being implemented under the theme of ‘Agricultural Commercialization: Leveraging Cooperatives and Markets.’

Nyandule-Phiri explains that his Ministry is implementing the project in close collaboration with the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism (MoITT) and other stakeholders using proceeds of a loan from the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA) amounting to US$ 95-million.

He says: “The objective of AGCOM is to increase commercialization of agricultural value chain products selected under the project including products of farms and agribusinesses, like crop, livestock, and fisheries products sold domestically or exported, with or without processing, depending on market requirements.”

“AGCOM is implementing a high impact Productive Alliance (PA) approach based on commercial agreement between the project supported Producer Organizations (POs) including farmer cooperatives and associations.”

The project is expected to benefit small-scale and emerging poor farmers (cultivating not more than eight hectors) and farmer organizations with capacity to produce beyond subsistence; agro-product buyers (processors, retailers, exporters, and aggregators) and; financial lending institutions for the agricultural sector.

AGCOM will also be paying special attention to women and youth based producer organizations to achieve the objective of having a minimum of 300 productive alliances and 100,000 farming households in 5-years’ time.

The project has four components namely: Building Productive Alliances that will be supporting the integration of small-scale and emerging farmers; Support Investment Enabling Services for Access to Agricultural Financing and Access to Land for Commercial Agriculture; Project Coordination and Management and; AGCOM approach in selecting the Value Chains (VC) to allow agricultural value chains have strong prospective commercial linkages.

AGCOM is being implemented through an independent Project Implementation Unit (PIU) whose operations started in July 2018.

The PIU is charged with the responsibility to oversee day to day project implementation, monitor progress, and coordinate and account for utilization of project funds.

The project will be implemented country-wide for six years from 2018 to 2023.

Agriculture
Malawi set to increase fish production
November 15, 2019 / Wahard Betha

Malawi is planning to scale up investment in aquaculture so that the country is able to meet fish demand for the local market and start exporting processed fish.

Speaking during the launch of the Aquaculture Round Table in Lilongwe, Director of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and Coordinator of Cooperatives in the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism Wiskes Mkombezi explained that the government will work with different stakeholders to commercialize fish farming.

Mkombezi said it is shameful that the nation is importing fresh and canned fish regardless of the famous fish species that Lake Malawi has.

He said: “We do not have to be importing fish, but instead through aquaculture, we should be producing enough for local consumption and export.”

“It is sad to see foreign fish species like Kalapao from Mozambique flooding our markets despite us having enormous potential to develop our fish farming industry.”

He said it is high time Malawi developed its fish processing and export industry, which will create more employment opportunities and contribute to growth of the national economy.

Mkombezi urged fish farmers to take aquaculture seriously to increase local production and help in import substitution.

He said growth in aquaculture will also help in attracting tourists, as most visitors are always eager to taste the famous chambo delicacy.

Director of Fisheries in the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development Friday Njaya commented that it is possible for Malawi to produce enough fish for the local and export market as the country has huge potential to develop aquaculture.

“As a nation, we have plenty of unexploited markets in countries like South Africa, Tanzania and Zimbabwe,” he said.

German Technical Cooperation (GIZ) Standing in Country Director Kornelius Schiffer hailed the launch of the round table saying it will assist in eradicating malnutrition cases as fish remains one of the major sources of animal protein.

Schiffer promised continued support to sustainably achieve the vision and the mission of the round table.

He pleaded with the Government to put in efforts to develop aquaculture“on the ground and not only on paper.”

The aquaculture round table is a collaboration of the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism, Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development and GIZ.

Malawi fisheries sector contributes an estimated four percent to Gross Domestic Product(GDP)catering for livelihoods of some 1.6 million people including those living exclusively on the catch, processing and trade of wild fish stocks mainly from Lake Malawi.

In Malawi, fish plays an important role in food security as it caters for over 40% of the total national protein requirement.

The annual fish production increased from about 144-thousand tons in 2015 to 157-thousand tons in 2016, representing 8.98% increase of which aquaculture production was over 7-thousand tons.

Agriculture
Malawi Govt. prepares to construct irrigation canals in Lower Shire
November 13, 2019 / Admin

The Malawi Government is preparing to construct irrigation canals in the Lower Shire Valley Districts of Chikwawa and Nsanje.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development says in a statement that the canals will be constructed as part of the Shire Valley Transformation Programme (SVTP) which it is implementing with financial support from the World Bank, African Development Bank and Global Environment Facility (GEf).
The Ministry says the Programme will develop 43, 370 hectares of the land for large scale irrigation in the two districts.
“As part of the SVTP, irrigation canals will be constructed to enable the conveyance of irrigation water from Kapichira Dam on the Shire River to targeted farming areas within the two districts,” says the Ministry.
As the construction of the irrigation canals will affect people’s land and property, the government is currently sorting out compensation issues to pave way for the civil works.
Though an agro-based economy, Malawi’s agricultural sector is dominated by smallholder farmers who mainly grow crops at a subsistence level.
Overreliance on rain-fed agriculture has resulted in perennial food shortages in the country due to climate change related causes such as drought and floods.
The government is, therefore, implementing SVTP to promote irrigated commercial farming and ensure food security for the nation, whose population stands at 17-million.