State President Prof. Arthur Peter Mutharika says his government has put in place policies and programs that will see Malawi shifting from subsistence farming to agriculture for industrialization.
This transpired during an audience the president had with the visiting president of the international Fund for Agricultural Development(IFAD); Kanayo Nwanze at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe on Thursday.
Mutharika cited the newly launched National Irrigation Policy and the National Agriculture Policy as vital blue prints that have the capacity to break food insecurity and poverty.
Mutharika further hinted that government intends to align agriculture production with Marketing and trade policies.
“What we have done so far is to establish Agriculture commodity exchange markets for other crops other than tobacco because in the past we used to rely on this crop which is now a loser: for instance, this year the revenue collected dropped by about 18 percent. And farmers have no control of how at what price they can sell thier own tobacco, that is why we are now are changing focus to other crops,” said Mutharika.
While citing access to financing as a major challenge affecting agriculture transformation efforts,the Malawi leader appealed to IFAD to allocate substantial funds to Malawi for rural farmers.
“I am aware that IFAD country strategic opportunity programme for Malawi covering the period between 2016 and 2022… It is my expectation that Malawi will be allocated a substantial amount of resources in the next IFAD funding cycle to keep with our levels of needs,” he said.
The president added that Malawi need money to address constraints to food security to improve rural livelihoods.
In his remarks Nwanze said having visited and interacted with rural farmers in Mchinji and Chiwamba in Lilongwe, it is clear that Malawi will soon be food secure and record a surplus for export.
He also pledged his organizations continue support towards mindset change which he said is a critical component of agricultural transformation.
IFAD has been in Malawi since 1981 and has supported the country to the tune of 244 million dollars thus far.
Currently, the organization has allocated 42.3 million dollars to Malawi to support the Financial Advancement for Rural Markets,Smallholders and Enterprises project in the country.