The remarks were made in Lilongwe on Tuesday when the organisation engaged Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture, Irrigation, Natural Resources and Climate Change in a meeting.
One of the board members for the organisation, George Vilili told local media that it is their expectation that the new committee will collaborate with key stakeholders for a vibrant agriculture sector in the country.
He said: “Cisanet works to promote agriculture development and sustainable livelihoods for the rural poor by influencing desired change in policies, practices and attitudes of government, development partners and other stakeholders through effective and results focused advocacy, research and networking.”
During the meeting, Beatrice Makwenda, chairperson for Cisanet’s programmes sub-committee, said the current provision of 10 percent of the total budget going to agriculture sector is not sufficient to boost agriculture productivity.
“Some of the key issues affecting agriculture development are low productivity, over dependence on Maize and tobacco, climate change, limited agro-processing and inadequate investments for market development,” said Makwenda.
On his part chairperson for the Parliamentary Committee, Sameer Suleman said they are now able to appreciate the challenges that smallholder farmers face on the ground.
“It is very important for MPs to coordinate with Civil Society Organisations to guide us on essential areas to focus during budget planning and allocation in the agriculture sector. We need to lobby government to allocate more funding to the sectors that are overlooked but are crucial for agricultural development such as the livestock sector,” he observed.
Cisanet was established in 2001 with a focus of linking CSOs working in agriculture sector. Currently it has a membership of over 70 local and international NGOs, academic institutions and individuals in agriculture sector.