Standard Bank in partnership with UN Women on Tuesday launched a K340 Million project whose aim is to orient a targeted 10,000 women farmers in how best they can enhance their farming of groundnuts using climate smart ways.
The launch was hosted by one of the beneficiaries of the project, Gwiritse Producers and Marketing Cooperative which has 242 members of which 154 are women.
Dubbed ‘Contributing to the Economic Empowerment of Women in Malawi through climate smart agriculture’, the project will focus on the utilization of improved crop varieties of groundnuts, an improved farming system of the crop and creation of a value chain that presents attractive markets for the targeted farmers.
The Malawi project is part of a K2.2 Billion (US $3 Million) initiative – also funded by Standard Bank Group- that will be undertaken in South Africa, Uganda and Nigeria and will target 50,000 women farmers. In Malawi, the project will be carried out in Lilongwe, Mchinji, Mzimba and Karonga districts.
Speaking during the launch, Standard Bank Chief Executive, William le Roux, observed that agriculture is an industry that drives the economy as such it needs maximum support.
“Our underlying business principle is that Malawi is our home and we drive her growth. We therefore believe that our business can thrive only if society prospers. This project which has targeted a crucial group in the farming industry will change the way people see agriculture for many years to come,” he said.
In her remarks, Chief Director in the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, Dr Yanira Mtupanyama, commended Standard Bank for taking a leading role in opening up new opportunities for women farmers in the country.
“What Standard Bank has done is a good example of how the corporate world can explore various ways to improve people’s livelihoods. We are even more grateful because this particular project has put women at the core of everything,” she said adding that government remains committed to find good markets for small scale farmers, more so for this project.
One of the members of Gwiritse Cooperative, Ruth Deodato, was all smiles at the prospect of making more profits from her farming now that there is this project in place.
“Where I am today, I have already benefited a lot from this cooperative. Now with what we have been told about this project, I am very sure that with climate smart ways of farming, I will realize huge yields of groundnuts,” said Deodato who joined the cooperative in 2017.
Also speaking at the event was UN Women Country Representative for Malawi, Clara Anyangwe, who lauded Standard Bank for being a befitting champion of women and girl empowerment.
“As a corporate champion of the HeForShe campaign, Standard Bank has demonstrated its full commitment to ensuring that girls and women take a leading role in realizing potential among themselves and benefitting from all developmental programs and policies.” The timeframe for implementation of the whole project in all the four countries is from January 2019 to December 2020.