INDUSTRIALISATION AND AGRICULTURE SPEECH BY THE STATE PROFESSOR ARTHUR PETER MUTHARIKA AT THE OFFICIAL OPENING OF THE 15TH NATIONAL AGRICULTURE FAIR
12th SEPTEMBER, 2018
Agriculture is our way of life. And farmers are very important people to this country. These are people who feed us.
These are people who feed our economy. These are people who build our economy with their hands, hoes and tractors. Let us dignify farming.
Farmers are at the core of Malawi’s vision. Our vision is to turn Malawi from an importing and consuming country to become a producing and exporting country.
For many years since Independence, Malawi has been producing and exporting raw materials. We have been exporting jobs. Time has now come to stop exporting raw materials. Time has come to stop exporting jobs.
Our Foreign Direct Investment program is now going to focus on manufacturing. We are inviting more companies to focus on manufacturing.
We have engaged Chinese Government for us to start constructing industrial parks. But I want us to move beyond business parks to industrial parks. I want more manufacturing, more industrial parks, more jobs.
We have engaged Israelis for us to start green house farming in our communities. These will come with their own training and industrial centers.
Our focus is increasing productivity and building community industries. Sometimes, we call them primary industries. And we will focus more on cooperatives.
Therefore, I want all relevant ministries to implement a program we shall call Rural Industrialisation for Cooperatives.
Let there be a Roundtable Meeting between the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Industry and Trade, Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Labour. We must agree on a collaborated Rural Industrialisation Strategy. And let me have this common strategy soon!
This Rural Industrialisation for Cooperatives will need the right organisation, the right skills, and strong financing. Therefore, our skills development and Community Technical Colleges must be part of this vision.
Let us designate technical colleges that focus on developing skills for agro-processing. Our community technical colleges must be linked to skills development in our cooperatives. And let us involve our universities in developing skills and entrepreneurship competence.
Let us mobilise more farmers into cooperatives. We must empower our farmers with capital. We must equip our farmers to intensify small scale industries from farm produces.
We must continue to establish vibrant credit cooperatives that provide sustainable financial support for their members. That is why we are establishing the Agricultural Cooperative Bank.
We are establishing the Agricultural Cooperative Bank as a bank will address the needs of farmers and various players along the agricultural value chains. And I want to hear a report on the progress on this Cooperative Bank.
Let me urge Ministry of Finance to invest with speed in rural industrialisation and formation of cooperatives. We cannot leave the empowerment of our farmers to chance and others.
Let us invest in our farmers and cooperatives. This is a necessary step in moving Malawi to become a producing and exporting country.
At the same time, we will continue pursuing all alternative means of empowering our farmers. We will continue implementing the Agricultural Sector Wide Approach Program (ASWAP). The goal of this program is to increase smallholder farmers’ access to investment capital and markets.
We will also continue implementing targeted inclusive policies and programs. This year, we will continue with the Farm Input Subsidy Programme (FISP).
Our goal is to increase agricultural productivity and improve food security at household and national levels. Our method is to provide seeds, fertilizers and pesticides to poor farmers at a subsidized price. Poor or rich, every Malawian deserves to have food.
We will continue with our irrigation program because we cannot always rely on rain. We are continuing with the Shire Valley Transformation Program. This project will cover about 43,000 hectares, and is going to be the biggest irrigation project in the Southern Africa Region.
I understand the project is almost ready for launching, and I am ready to launch it.
Time has come to move Malawi from subsistence to commercial farming. We are now set to start implementing the Malawi Agricultural Commercialization Project. Our focus is going to be on value chain development for selected crops, fisheries and livestock.
In one example, we have acquired and installed a leather design studio here in Blantyre. But we must proceed to purchase a Tannery so that we are able to complete the whole processing of leather here in the country. Resources must be found for this!
We are wasting a lot of skins and hides of animals. Yet, every Malawian needs shoes. Let us make more shoes from our people’s goats and cows. This means Malawians will make more money when they slaughter a cow or a goat.
I want every Malawian, every farmer, to have access to good markets. That is why we are constructing good roads in every part of the country.
We are preparing our communities to be part of the rural industrialization project. We are setting foundations for a great country, a more progressive country with more prosperous people.
In our vision, we know that industries need electricity. That is why we are investing in energy generation more than at any time in our history. That is why we are taking electricity to rural communities.
In our vision, we know industries need skilled labour. That is why we are establishing community technical colleges in every part of the country.
I want every farmer, every Malawian, every community, to join the road to progress. It is a long walk from poverty to prosperity. But we must get there. It takes hardwork. But we must do it, and we will do it!
May God Bless You
And God Bless Malawi
Contact: Dr Bright Molande
Executive Assistant to the President
+265 991 73 6787