The President was speaking in Lilongwe when he launched the National Agriculture policy as well as the National Irrigation policy at the Bingu International Convention Centre in Lilongwe.
Professor Mutharika said the country’s agricultural technology is outdated and needs to be transformed so that the agriculture sector performs well.
“Good planning in our agriculture sector is good planning for our economy. We have not maximised the potential of the agriculture sector for a number of reasons. This sector has been characterised with policies that lacked clarity. Sometimes, there have been conflicting policy positions on key issues. We have been using out-dated agricultural production technologies. We have a sector that has been characterised with underdeveloped irrigation,mechanization and commercialization,” said Mutharika emphasizing that time has come to address challenges faced by the agriculture sector.
"The growth of our economy largely depends on the way we plan in our agriculture sector. Agriculture remains the backbone of our economy and development. The impact of agriculture on our economy is always felt in our homes, our work places, and wherever we are. A year of a good harvest means everything to us. High productivity means so much to us. And as the last two years of hunger have eloquently spoken, bad years in our fields mean everything to all of us. Every farmer, carpenter, minibus driver or passenger feels the importance of agriculture in our economy," he explained.
The Malawi leader added that climate change has made agriculture unpredictable hence the Irrigation policy will help to fight the effects of climate change. President Mutharika said the policy will also help to address temporal problems of water shortages.
“Times have changed; climate change has made rainfall too unpredictable. Malawi has high irrigation potential. We need comprehensive policy for irrigation, we need to invest in irrigation,” added Mutharika.
President Mutharika then said combination of the two policies will change the lives of people in the country.
The National Agriculture Policybuilds on that long-term development strategy called Vision 2020. It draws from the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy II (MGDSII). The Policy further builds on other existing frameworks such as the Agriculture Sector Wide Approach (ASWAp) and the National Export Strategy (NES). On the international level, this policy heeds the call of the African Union Malabo Declaration and the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) framework. This policy is an integral part of our Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This collective policy is the culmination of our national planning in agriculture.