President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera has launched phase two of the Agricultural Commercialisation (Agcom II) project that seeks to transform smallholder farming into commercial agriculture.
The programme follows the success of Agcom I implemented from six years ago with $95 million from the World Bank. On the other hand, Agcom II is worth $265 million.
Speaking during the launch at Chinthembwe ground in Ntchisi District yesterday, the President said with the support from the World Bank, Malawi is taking the vision of mass production of value chains and export to the next level.
He said: “The Agcom II will help us produce food necessary to curb hunger situation the country is facing. With Agcom, we are given a chance to invest in irrigation with the presence of our fresh water and plenty of land.’
The President further said he has already identified a big market for Malawi’s food produce, as Egypt has offered to buy some of Malawi produce.
Speaking earlier, Ntchisi East member of Parliament Bernard Chitekwe said farmers in the district were willing to go into commercial and value addition agriculture as witnessed by different cooperatives that are already producing farm produce.
He said: ‘’Ntchisi farmers are willing to venture into commercialisation agriculture. Here at Chinthembwe, we have a vibrant cooperative that is processing coffee and sending it to Germany.
“As a district we believe with assistance from Agcom II our farmers will go a long way in terms of production.”
World Bank country manager Hugh Riddell commended the Malawi Government for putting in place measures necessary for sustainable growth and economic transition of the country.
Minister of Agriculture Sam Kawale highlighted the achievements of Agcom I and said Agcom II will also help in reforming the Affordable Inputs Programme (AIP) by accommodating other farmers in the programme.
‘’Agcom I helped 352 cooperatives and benefitted 75 000 households and established 107 factories across the country. This programme will increase the production of Soya bean, dairy farming, bee keeping, coffee and others,’’ he said.
Before the launch, the President toured Ntchisi East Coffee Cooperative and he also handed over dummy cheques to 22 cooperatives around the country that are benefiting from Agcom II project.