‘Agricultural commercialisation needs combined efforts’

Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development has expressed need for concerted efforts for the commercialisationof the agricutural to be successful in the country.

Agricultural Commercialisation Project (Agcom) coordinator in the ministry, Ted Nankhumwa made the remarks in Blantyre during a meeting with the private sector aimed at strategising on the project.

Agricutural commercialisation needs concerted efforts

“The project is taking a different approach as we are looking at sustainability beyond the project phase. Previously, most projects only focused on producers.

“However, for sustainability of this project, we identified the role the private sector plays. These are providers of different services in the value chain, including farm inputs, retailers, exporters and financial institutions that render different services, including loans,” he said.

Nankhumwa said the project will empower producers by increasing production as well as instilling in them a notion that agriculture is a viable business.

“At the moment, the smallholder sector is only using 30 per cent of its potential but we hope the project will increase productivity so that the agricultural sector improves both in terms of labour and land productivity,” he said.

Nankhumwa said that the project will also be providing tailor-made loan facilities to address concerns of commercial banks, considering that farmers belong to a risky category.

Director of agricultural planning services in the ministry, Alex Namaona, ruled out the possibility of the project failing, saying it is being implemented by an independent Project Management Unit.

FDH Bank senior relationship manager Frank Nakoma said the project provides business opportunities for the sector as it will also give a guarantee to banks to give farmers loans to enhance their production.

Ministry of Agriculture, in collaboration with the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism, are implementing a $95 million (about K70 billion) Agcom project with a loan from the World Bank. The project will be implemented countrywide for six years from 2018-2023. n

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