By Mathias Mphande
The Green Belt Authority says Malawi can stop importation of most food items if the Green Belt Initiative is well supported.
Green Belt Authority’s public relations officer Maganizo Mazeze told YFM that the future remains bright for Malawi in becoming a food basket and predominantly exporting nation.
Mazeze said this will be achieved as the authority is exploring different crops such as sugarcane, rice, cotton and vegetables.
He said this follows the successful completion of a feasibility study on Ntholla-ilora Irrigation Rice scheme in Karonga earlier this year.
Mazeze said the authority is currently waiting for a final report on the viability of the land for the project.
He said another feasibility study on greenhouse project in Lilongwe is currently underway under the Green Belt Initiative.
Mazeze said under Green House project, the authority would venture into vegetable farming in which the country will be able to produce, supply and export by early next year.
He said the project will be operational by early next year and once started, supermarkets which import vegetables will no longer have to do so because greenhouse will be able to meet the growing demand.
“It is an expensive venture, but we are working with foreign investors, foreign partners on this project and Malawi government so we believe that we should have these vegetables early next early,” said Mazeze.
“The site has a total of 40 hectares that include an operational area. As soon as we conclude infrastructure development on the site we should have these vegetables grown.”
On Salima sugar project, Mazeze said the project is making huge headway as it is producing 12,000 metric tons of sugar up from 8,000 metric tons in 2015.
Since its launch by former president the late Bingu wa Mutharika, the initiative has suffered different challenges including inadequate funding and lack of political will.