The Malawi Government on Thursday morning shared it’s Agriculture agenda with the United Nations (UN) Agencies that will see Malawi boosting its economy and in reducing poverty levels as well as food security which are key priorities for Malawi economic drive.
Speaking to delegates from UN agencies operating in Malawi who paid a courtesy call to congratulate Honourable Robin Lowe, MP, for his appointment as Minister of Agriculture and Food Security and also to appreciate the operations of this Ministry, Lowe said the levels of poverty and food insecurity are very high among most Malawians both in urban and rural areas.
He said it is government’s plan to use Agriculture, especially through the Affordable Input Programme as a springboard to make households and the nation at large food secure.
“Government wants to focus its energies on fighting poverty and reducing food insecurity through the Affordable Input Programme which will target 4.2 million smallholder farmers who will be accessing farm input at a reasonable price and each farmer will be getting about six (6) to ten (10) metric tonnes of maize on an acre after farming through through this program,” said Lowe.
The Minister further highlighted that Malawi government envisages to export the surplus produce from these smallholder farmers to other countries after replenishing the Strategic Grain Reserves, something that will help the farmers themselves in particular to have a good income in their families and the nation at large which will be having forex through this international trade.
Lowe added that Malawi government through his ministry also plans to boost market accessibility to farmers to enable them sell their produce at better prices and in a structured manner and that his ministry will make sure that the whole agriculture value chain is improved to lure more players into the agribusiness sector.
Speaking on behalf of the UN agencies, UN Country Representative Maria Jose Torres said that the UN is ready to work with the new government on issues of agriculture, especially in rural areas where over 70% of Malawians reside.
“The Malawi Government must count on UN to assist it achieving the Sustainable Developmemt Goals, especially goal number two (2) which focuses on achieving food security through sustainable agriculture to end hunger and improve nutrition,” she said.
Torres added that the UN intends to work with more women and the youth in Agriculture Programmes besides contributing towards ending issues of child labour in the tobacco industry through the International Labour Organisation.
The UN agency leaders present during the courtesy call included Mazlan Jusoh of Food and Agriculture Organisation, Benoit Thiry of World Food Programme, Clara Anyangwe of UN Women and Shigeki Komatsubara of United Nations Development Programme.
Malawi has been failing to boost Agriculture sector by the previous regime due to corruption issues where most programs have had been dying in its pipeline because of financial indiscipline perpetuated by corruption