Minister of Agriculture Lobin Lowe has commended Standard Bank plc for its commitment and financial assistance towards the promotion of the country’s agriculture transformation.
The minister said this in Lumbadzi, Dowa on Thursday when Standard Bank plc handed over to GGL Farm two greenhouses and furniture worth K23.5 million for the farm’s training centre near Kamuzu International Airport.
The farm is managed by an Israel firm Inosselia and Greenbelt Authority (GBA).
Lowe said the Malawi Stock Exchange-listed Standard Bank plc has demonstrated huge commitment and support towards greenhouse farming.
He said the bank’s gesture will ensure production of quality products from the greenhouses and ensure that they supply to local shops as well as international market.
“We are happy to notice that with support from Standard Bank, GGL Farm has a training facility where they will be transferring knowledge and capacity to farmers drawn from the local communities and beyond so that everyone should benefit from the initiative,” said Lowe.
Standard Bank plc board director Margareth Chirwa said the training centre will be used for capacity building of smallholder farmers who want to practice climate-smart agriculture.
“As Standard Bank plc, we are committed to working with strategic partners such as Greenbelt Authority and Inosselia to compliment government’s efforts in reducing challenges that weigh down the agricultural sector,” she said.
Chirwa said green-house farming will help smallholder farmers to expand their crop variety within a small growing area and extend their growing season because they will not rely on rain water.
She said GBA is expected to engage youths in modern farming methods that will eventually reduce food prices through increased supply on the local market.
Inosselia managing director Michael Gorelik said the greenhouses produce 50 tonnes of vegetables that include tomatoes and green pepper every week.
He said most shops in the country used to import from South Africa, but now they are all buying locally at Inosselia, thereby saving foreign exchange.
“We have explored international markets and soon we will be exporting to South Africa and other countries in Africa,” said Gorelik.
GBA and Inosselia have been producing vegetables for at least two years, supplying to the country’s major super markets.