Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI) has described the justâ€”ended 9th National Agriculture Fair as “remarkable”.
MCCCI public-private dialogue manager Hope Chavula said more than 50 percent of the exhibitors participated in previous fairs which, he said, shows that participants responded to the demands of the themes of the agriculture fairs.
“They have moved a step further in terms of value-addition in response to the theme of last yearâ€™s agriculture fair which was called value-addition for increased returns. This year, we saw a lot of value-added products: juices from agricultural products, flour made out of sweet potatoes, cassava and other produce which can be used for baking, among other things,” said Chavula.
He added that there was a 30 percent increase in participation compared to last year, which Chavula said shows that the fair is meeting its objectives.
“It actually shows that now the space is too small for the agriculture fair and we will have to increase space in the subsequent fairs. Over 100 stands were occupied this time around, up from about 79 in last yearâ€™s agriculture fair.
He also noted that out of such fairs, a lot of participants are able to respond to buyersâ€™ needs; understand their markets better, get technical knowledge from the experts as well as making business deals.
Chavula said in line with the just ended fairâ€™s theme, the chamber expects players in the agriculture industry to think twice about the old methods of agriculture and use some of the mechanised systems.
The 9th agriculture fair was held under the theme: Agricultural Productivity: the Foundation for Industrialisation.
“Our expectations are long term. When we come up with these themes, we do not expect the results right away. But at least we are positive that the players in the agriculture industry have better knowledge in the next year. We want them to grow and come into industry,” he said.
Chavula also stressed on the need for high production, arguing that some policies come into play because of low agricultural production.
“Sometimes, issues of banning exports of certain agricultural produce; minimum and maximum prices come in because we do not produce enough,” he said.
The fair attracted a cross-section of players in the industry, including farmers, who came under the Farmers Union of Malawi (FUM), agricultural research institutions, support institutions, input suppliers and financial institutions, among others.
MCCCI also awarded exhibitors in different areas: Nkhulambe Rice Producers were crowned best farmer organisation, ETC Agro Tractors were the best input supplier, Bunda College of Agriculture were the best service provider and Nasfam was the best agro-processor.