President Mutharika was speaking at Chichiri Trade Fair Grounds when he presided over the official opening of the 15th National Agriculture Fair.
The Malawi leader said the country being an agro-based economy relies on agriculture as such farmers are critical to the development of the country hence his administration’s unrelenting efforts to ensure that the agriculture sector is revamped and remains vibrant.
“Let us mobilise more farmers into cooperatives. We must empower our farmers with capital. We must equip our farmers to intensify small scale industries from farm produce.
“We must continue to establish vibrant credit cooperatives that provide sustainable financial support for their members. That is why we are establishing the Agricultural Cooperative Bank,” said President Prof. Mutharika.
In terms of trade President Prof. Mutharika believes the country can change from being an importing and consuming nation to a producing and exporting nation. But this requires hard-work that every resident of the country should embrace.
Locally processed products on display at the fair
He said: “Time has come to move Malawi from subsistence to commercial farming. We are now set to start implementing the Malawi Agricultural Commercialization Project. Our focus is going to be on value chain development for selected crops, fisheries and livestock.’’
Some fast facts:
- APM orders implementation of a collaborated Rural Industrialisation Strategy.
- Blantyre to have a skins and hides tannery.
- Farm Input Subsidy Programme (FISP) and Agricultural Sector Wide Approach Program (ASWAP) to be continued.
- Shire Valley Transformation Program to cover about 43,000 hectares.
In his remarks Minister of Agriculture, Joseph Mwanamvekha said government has demonstrated its commitment to improving the agriculture sector through financing all critical areas as evident in the 2018/19 National budget. He further said the current administration has put in place a framework that ensures that policies and systems talk to each other for the development of the agriculture sector.
Earlier on president of Malawi Confederation Chambers of Commerce and Industry - MCCCI Prince Kapondamgaga cited some challenges affecting the agricultural sector such as poor access to capital and unsteady markets.
During the function five trophies were presented in various categories and NASFAM emerged the best agro-processor. This year’s National Agriculture Fair runs from 12-15 September 2018 under the Theme: Access to Finance, Value Addition and Markets: Key to Agri-based Industrialization.