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BANANA INDUSTRY GETS MINISTRY’S FLAGSHIP STATUS – Lowe wants Banana importation to end in two years

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The Ministry of Agriculture says it has decided to consider revamping of Banana industry as its flagship program from now as one way of ending importation of banana mainly from Tanzania and Mozambique.

Malawi imports 18200MT yearly

Minister of Agriculture Lobin Lowe, MP, disclosed this plan during the Mzuzu meeting he held on Tuesday morning with horticulture directors from Mzuzu and Karonga ADDs.

He bemoaned continued importation of bananas which is pegged at around 18 000MT yearly despite having good soils that allows smooth production of bananas across the country.

Outlining the banana revamping strategy, Banana coordinator Osborne Tsoka highlighted that the whole revamping process may only need MWK2.5 Billion and in two years, the importation of bananas can completely end.

He added that the MWK2.5 Billion budget needed will be used for procuring of about one million clean banana suckers which the Ministry intends to distribute to about 1500 progressive farmers targeted to grow bananas at a minimum of an aggregated five hector land in every EPA across the country.

Ovi Nkhupera-Banana Farmer from Zomba. to be considered as progressive farmers

The 1500 progressive farmers are to produce around 20 000MT of bananas and at the same time, they will be used to multiply the suckers and share them to smallholder farmers around their areas.

Statistics show that a farmer can realize about MWK7 500 000 from a one hector land harvest something which is above maize and other crops grown in Malawi.

The hidden gold

The Agriculture minister has however challenged the horticulturalists and agriculturalists to take a leading role in making this flagship program done at all cost.

The Ministry has planned to launch this flagship program early next month of June to kick start this program.        

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