President Arthur Peter Mutharika says only proper planning and efficient implementation of all laid-down government policies on Agriculture are essential prerequisites for the long-term development of the country.
Speaking when he launched the National Agriculture Policy (NAP) and National Irrigation Policy (NIP) in Lilongwe on Wednesday, President Mutharika diagnosed small thinking as a major problem that has hindered development for many decades.
“Our present is a product of our past planning. Our future will be the product of how we plan today. As a country, we are where we are because we have been thinking small and planning small. And I say, we must think big and plan big. That is how we will grow big as a nation,” he noted.
Touching on the two policies, APM highlighted how important the two blueprints are to the country’s economy in view of its agro-base nature. “The growth of our economy largely depends on the way we plan in our agriculture sector. Agriculture remains the backbone of our economy and development. Most of our macro-economic indicators are often positive whenever the agriculture sector performs well. And the opposite is also true. Good planning in our agriculture sector is good planning for our economy.”
The specific objective of the NAP is to guide Malawi to achieve transformation of the agriculture sector. More specifically, this policy guides us towards increasing production, productivity, and real farm incomes.
It is aligned to Malawi’s Vision 2020 and the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy II, which are the overarching long-term and medium-term development strategies, respectively. The policy will inform the agricultural content of the next medium-term development strategy.
The NIP on the other hand seeks to provide guidance to all stakeholders in the provision of irrigation goods, works and services as well as interventions that will facilitate improved food security, increased nutrition and sustainable economic growth. The current DPP regime – same with the Bingu leadership- has placed intensive and mechanized irrigation as one of the pillars of development under the Greenbelt Initiative (GBI which will see some 100, 000 hectares of land irrigated along the lakeshore and main rivers across the country. With the two policies in place Malawi is assured of a rapid paradigm shift from subsistence and consuming farming to commercial, large scale and exporting one.