By Macdonald Thom:
The $95 million six-year Agricultural Commercialisation (Agcom) project which the government started implementing last year has started gathering momentum, it has been revealed.
Agcom Coordinator, Ted Nankhumwa, told reporters in Lilongwe on Monday that, over the past year, they have been putting in place structures for the project.
He said they had trained 28 district agricultural development officers, 30 agribusiness specialists and 21 trade liaison officers.
“We have gone to villages to train cooperatives and some of them wrote concepts and proposals. We received 79 concepts, out of which 32 were recommended for proposal development. Seventeen proposals were submitted. An independent committee evaluated the proposals and identified 10 for funding,” he said.
He also said following a call for concepts on agricultural initiative which was placed in the local dailies, they received 198 concepts out of which 40 had been shortlisted for proposal development.
He said, at the end of this year, Agcom, which is being implemented using World Bank’s credit financing, will fund at least 20 proposals.
Agcom is being implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture in conjunction with Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism through Independent Project Implementation Unit (PIU).
It aims at increasing commercialisation of agriculture value chain products including crops, livestock and fisheries for domestic and export market.
According to Nankhumwa, the project wants to create at least 300 productive alliances.
At the press briefing, Nankhumwa also said, under the project, there a window to use resources for emergency support and, in response to the effects of Cyclone Idai which recently affected the country, $20 million would be used to respond to, among others, rehabilitate irrigation facilities which were affected.