By Malawi Exclusive
President Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera has challenged the Ministry of Agriculture to roll-up it’s sleeves, go to work, and produce results, saying time for business-as-usual is over.
The President has since ordered the Ministry to move with speed on the mega farms which the Tonse Alliance promised before coming into power.
Said the President: “After two years of my administration, the ministry has yet to produce a single mega farm anywhere in the country, and this is a failure.
“I no longer have the patience. For this reason, I am giving the Ministry of Agriculture six months to produce results that the eyes of Malawians can see. We cannot go into 2023 with this business-as-usual approach. Not on my watch.”
Chakwera was speaking on Thursday in Lilongwe during the opening of a two day 2022 Malawi Agricultural Productivity and Commercialisation Conference.
The Malawi leader added that time for talking is over and that now it is time for action for the country to achieve it’s economic independence through agriculture.
Chakwera challenged that what Malawi lack is not policy direction or investment opportunities or public pronouncements but rather implementation of policies and pronouncements by the ministry.
The Malawi leader said for the mega farms which he said are key to ending reliance on subsistence farming, is something that has to start now.
“The time for ending our reliance on subsistence farming is not next year. It is now. The time for producing commercial crops on a massive scale and boosting our forex earnings is not next year. It is now.
“What I expect after this conference is not another conference for people to hear themselves talk, but action and results. What I expect after this conference is that the coming rainy season will be the start of a new era of farming in Malawi,” he said.
Chakwera also invited the Ministry of Agriculture to actively be part of the Private Sector Labs which the president is launching on June 21.
“I expect the Minister of Agriculture and his team to be there, not to defend themselves or talk like they don’t need new ideas, but to listen to those who want to invest in mega farms in this country, and to understand what needs to be done to unlock and unleash Malawi’s potential to feed the world,” said Chakwera.
In his remarks, Minister of Agriculture Lobin Lowe said that his ministry recognizes it’s importance in providing policy guidance and coordination in the implementation of the First 10 Year Implementation Plan of the Malawi 2063.
He said they have a number of initiatives lined up in recognizing that the time for diversification is now and that achieving it requires coordination from all stakeholders.
“Private sector should invest in integrated value-addition operations that will offer farmers a profitable market for their produce; and extension services, credit facilities,and farm inputs to support gainful farm production,” said Lowe.
On the other hand, the Minister said development partners, Non-Governmental Organizations and Civil Society Organizations should align their support to a wide range of agriculture value chains that offer quick wins and make long-term investments.
This year’s Conference is being observed under the theme “Driving Agricultural Diversification in Support of the Aspirations of Malawi 2063”.