President Peter Mutharika has stressed that his government will turn agriculture from being just a means of growing crops for food to a job creation initiative.
Mutharika made the remarks on Friday, 10th January, during the launch of US$95 million Agriculture Commercialization Project (AGCOM), at Bingu International Convention Centre (BICC) in Lilongwe.
The six yearlong project aims at increasing the capacity of 650, 000 farming households to improve production and marketing of legume and horticultural crops to boost their livelihoods as the future of the country’s main cash crop, tobacco is at stake.
The project will be jointly implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development and the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism with funds borrowed from the World Bank.
Mutharika said: “For a long time, agriculture has been our way of life for growing food and now we want agriculture to be our way of life for creating new wealth for Malawi.”
“This project is a game changer and is the beginning of transformation of agriculture in this country.”
Mutharika also revealed that in a matter of weeks he will launch Shire Valley Agriculture Transformation Project which is aimed at increasing productivity and commercialization for targeted households in the Shire Valley and improve the management and utilization of the natural resources in a sustainable way.
In his remarks, Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, Kondwani Nankhumwa, who throughout his speech made reference to the bible verses said despite the president’s effort to develop the country, but there are some people who are trying to pull him back through organized demonstrations which he assured the president that they will soon come to an end.
However Nankhumwa revealed that Agriculture is providing 65% of the employment in the country and 70% of the workers in the agriculture sector are women, and furthermore, 30% of the country’s income is from the sector.