Professor Mutharika said this on 1 January 2018 at Chikoko Bay State Lodge in Mangochi in his New Year Message to the nation. The President said Malawi must rise from being an importing and consuming nation and become a producing and exporting nation.
“By making Malawi a producing and exporting nation, we create more jobs and create wealth for Malawians. To become a producing and exporting nation, we start with diversifying and commercializing agriculture through irrigation.
In the 2018, we expect the Greenbelt revolution to start empowering more communities. Time has come for our local farmers to become producing and exporting actors of the vision,” said the Malawi leader in his address to the nation.
Besides, President Mutharika said the Shire Valley Transformation project is beginning this year. This is a Greenbelt project determined to empower 40,000 farmers and their families.
“The project will create more jobs as we process our produce for export. Around mid-year in 2018, I expect to launch construction of canals. We will pump water from Shire River and turn it into gravity-fed irrigation for the farmers. The first phase will begin with 22,300 (twenty-two thousand three hundred) hectares.
In 2018, we are also looking forward to beginning of another massive irrigation project on the scale of 24,000 (twenty-four thousand) hectares. This is a smart farming project where Nchalo Farmers’ Association will partner with investors who are ready to spend $240 million,” said President Mutharika.
The Malawi leader further said his administration will bring in more foreign direct investors this year. He said government wants to create a bigger private sector and remain with a smaller Government. Expanding the private sector is creating more jobs and boosting small scale businesses.
“In the year 2017, we have seen more foreign direct investors in wood-products manufacturing creating more jobs in Mzimba. We have seen investors constructing business parks and creating more jobs in Lilongwe and in Blantyre. We have seen business confidence growing in our economy.
Above all, we have seen our local private sector beginning to grow again. The profit for Press Corporation has grown with 90 per cent in 2017 more than their profit in 2016,” said Professor Mutharika.