The United States Agency for International Development (Usaid) has set aside $3 million (K1.3 billion) through public private partnerships in Agriculture to provide direct support to smallholder farmers in Malawi.
The partnered companies, Rab Group of Companies, Universal Industries and Opportunity Bank of Malawi (OIBM) will provide market access, improved inputs and offer technical training to smallholder farmers in selected value chains.
Speaking at the launch of the partnership in Blantyre on Wednesday, US ambassador to Malawi Virginia Palmer said the fund which is part of the Feed the Future Programme aims at improving nutrition and fighting hunger and poverty in the country.
“Smallholder farmers make up 80 percent of the population of Malawi; hence to achieve real economy growth, there is need for real development of the smallholder farmer.
“The status of nutrition has a long way to go with current figures indicating that about 46 percent of children in Malawi are stunted. We, therefore, hope increasing crop varieties will improve such conditions,” she said.
According to Palmer, the project will run for three years and is expected to reach out to 30 thousand farmers in the country.
Universal Industries managing director Divyakant Amin said the company will continue developing nutritious food products.
“We focus on adding value to crops by developing products that provide nutrition to the nation. We have projects aimed at producing nutritious foods but we have not progressed much due to funding hence this will enable us achieve our dreams,” he said.
In her remarks, OIBM chief agriculture officer Sakina Mandanda said the bank, which has existing partnerships with farmers, will ensure that the farmers are provided with farm inputs, mobile phone services and loans among others.
On their part, Rab Group of Company’s deputy managing director Ahmed Sunka said the company will be responsible for storage facilities for farmers produce.