In the next 6 years, Malawi’s Agriculture sector is expected to turn into big business.
A US$95 million (about K70 billion) Agricultural Commercialization (AGCOM) Project to be bankrolled by the World Bank will make this possible
The initiative is an attempt to transform the agriculture sector into a high productive commercial division.
AGCOM National Project Coordinator, Dr. Ted Nankhumwa said the project aims to transform the subsistence orientation among small and medium scale farmers to commercial scale in order to increase productivity and promote diversification.
Nankhumwa added the project has put in place measures to increase both land and labour productivity value by ensuring that land which is tied to low-value crops, is released to strategic crops which will result into high agricultural production as well as diversification.
“AGCOM is also likely to create a well cushioned and resilient agriculture sector which has lately proven fragile to the impact of climate change and environmental degradation,” Nankhumwa said.
The project is expected to achieve the desired transformation through building of productive alliances which will support integration of small-scale farmers and emerging farmers into value addition chains.
It will also cover matching grants to farmers for increased production, yield, quality and sale of agricultural products, improve post-harvest storage and process capability
AGCOM would also provide a Partial Credit Guarantee Fund (PCGF) which will act as an incentive to commercial banks to provide competitively priced agriculture financing to small scale farmers who are usually viewed as a risky category.
Director of Agricultural Planning Services in the Ministry of Agriculture, Alex Namaona says the agriculture policy summarizes the success plan yet falls short of ideas to practical transformation which projects like AGCOM will provide.
Namaona observed that the idea of mobilizing farmers, training and linking them to better markets are aspects bound to promote high diversified and standardized production, a situation which is likely to result in commercialization.