World Bank Country Director Mara Warwick says she is impressed with progress that has been made in the implementation of Agriculture Commercialization Project (AGCOM).
AGCOM is a Government of Malawi flagship project for commercializing agriculture, targeting smallholder and medium scale farmers. This is a US$95m six year project (2017-2023) with credit financing from the World Bank.
Warwick made the remarks when she visited Acadis Youth Farmers Cooperative in the area of Traditional Authority Malili in Lilongwe.
The World Bank Leader said she was impressed with commitment and zeal shown and demonstrated by the Acadis Cooperatives.
“This is good and let me encourag government to continue promoting this because this is so good for the country,” she said.
“These youths have created jobs for themselves. We are very much willing to support Malawi maximise profit and create jobs.”
In his address Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture Sandram Maweru said AGCOM is a flagship in as far as Agriculture Commercialization is concerned.
Maweru said despite challenges being faced , the project has already approved 200 Projects.
“I am quite pleased to inform you our that despite a delayed start of this project, AGCOM is on the right trajectory to achieve its targets. To date, the project has approved 229 productive alliances,” he said.
Productive alliances are sub-projects with ready markets / offtakers out which 167 sub – projects are already being implemented against the end-year target of 200 PAs by May 2023.
Additional 97 business plans are being developed and the project has about 600 concepts from current window of call for concepts that need to be assessed.
“This strong pipeline means that AGCOM will deliver more than 300 PAs surpassing the 200 target,” added Maweru.
Maweru said government we will ensure that the project is fully supported to realise it’s full potential.
Madaliso Chipekwe ACADES Chairperson commended World Bank and Malawi Government for the support.
She said at first farmers they had storage problems but now they are happy to have a warehouse facility.
She however pleaded with the authorities to help them look for good markets to sell their crops at a reasonable price.
ACADES started in 2014 as a joint farm business by 6 graduates from LUANAR.
The marketing association was established with the aim of aggregating enough volumes to access better markets.
Currently, the membership is over 3,000 farmers covering Lilongwe and Mchinji districts.
Its members are aged between 18-35. The average age 27 years.
Proportion of women and men among members is 32% and 68% respectively.
Currently engaged in production of soya beans as primary commodity while beans and onions are secondary commodities.
ACADES has a revolving loan fund which they use to provide farm inputs on loan to members. Their vision is to grow into the largest group of youth commercial farmers.