By Lifu Litete – Malawi Exclusive
Following President Dr Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera’s directive that the Ministry of Agriculture should produce a progress report on the establishment of Mega Farms within six months, the Ministry has swiftly moved in to act.
This week the Ministry has advertised calling for expression of interest from eligible and capable players from the private sector to participate in the establishment of the Mega Farms in the country.
Speaking when he presided over a two day conference on Agriculture Commercialisation in Lilongwe some three weeks ago, the President expressed surprise that the country has failed to establish any Mega Farm two years after he assumed office yet the establishment of mega farms was one of his campaign promises.
“During the campaign period one of the messages I preached was on the establishment of Mega Farms but two years down the line there seem there is no progress made on the establishment of Mega Farms. I therefore order the Ministry of Agriculture to present to me a report within 6 months on the progress made in the establishment of mega farms. Time to act on Mega Farms is now and not next year,” said Chakwera during the conference.
In a notice of call for expression which this publication has seen in the local daily papers, the Ministry of Agriculture is calling on capable and eligible private sector players to express their interest to establish mega farms in two districts-Nkhotakota and Mchinji.
For Mchinji, government has made available 5000 hectares of land at Chimwamkango estate for value crops for a period of five years.
While in Nkhotakota the Ministry of Agriculture is also offering 5000 hectares of land at Dwambazi estate to be used for raising beef cattle for a period of five years.
Confirming the development Ministry of Agriculture spokesperson Gracian Lungu said indeed for a start, government is offering land in the two districts.
“It’s true we have called for expression of interest for the available land in the two districts. The Ministry has finalised its paperwork on the two estates and once bids are submitted we are going to go straight into the normal bidding process to identify the eligible investors to be awarded the contracts to manage these two farms,” said Lungu.
Mega Farms are regarded as a game changer to the country’s economic fortunes which is Agro-based as they meant for profit and capital intensive in terms of farm equipment such as tractors, irrigation investment and warehousing.
The Mega Farms will also provide support services such as centre of excellence for Agronomy and Agri-business technology services, farm demonstration plots and outreach services.