Experts have said the establishment of more agricultural cooperatives nationwide is key to promoting agricultural commecialisation in the country.
This was disclosed during the National Planning Commission (NPC) and Mwapata Policy Institute 8th Eminent Speakers’s Series held on Tuesday evening in Lilongwe titled ‘From Envisioning to Action: Practical Interventions Catalysing Agricultural Productivity for Wealth Creation’.
Mwapata Policy Institute executive director William Chadza said establishing more cooperatives and enhancing diversification is key towards attaining the Malawi 2063 pillar on agriculture and commercialisation.
He said: “It is important that within the challenges that we face, we should leverage on emerging opportunities to enhance the implementation of the vision to achieve the targets therein.”
Eminent speaker on the day, Illovo Sugar (Malawi) plc managing director Lekani Katandula, while acknowledging that agriculture remains the backbone of the country’s economy, said the majority of farmers in the cuntry are small-scale and make small contributions.
However, he noted that production and productivity of small-scale farmers can be enhanced by grouping them in cooperatives where experience has shown that results are positive.
Katandula said: “For instance, we have the Shire Valley Transformation Project which will employ thousands of farmers that are in groups. If this can be replicated across the country, we should achieve rapid transformation and growth through agriculture.”
Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources vice-chancellor Professor Emmanuel Kaunda said the Eminent Speaker’s Series were critical in sensitising Malawians the Malawi 2063, the country’s lonmg-term development blueprint.
Phata Cooperative extension officer Tione Malizani, whose organisation is largely into sugarcane irrigation production, said farmer groups are able to get adequate financing, extension services and well-bargained ready markets; hence, leading to commercialisation