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Episcopal Conference of Malawi set to invest in agribusiness

The Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM) is to embark on a project meant to ensure food security in the country.

ECM Chairman, Bishop Thomas Msusa, said the project, Agriculture Initiative Survey (IPS), will be funded by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) through the Pontifical Mission Society (PMS), Malawi office.

He was speaking in Lilongwe when USCCB’s Fr. Andrew Small presented the project to the bishops and heads of Catholic institutions drawn from across the country.

“You know with issues of lack of adequate food among our Christians, bishops are normally busy seeking funds outside the country to support those affected. Our duty is to preach the word of God, hence the reason we would like to see dioceses help the members to be self-sustainable and food secure,” he said.

Kenya is said to be a shining example of this initiative for dioceses and institutions have invested in a similar project and are producing and exporting various agricultural commodities.

For instance, Kenyan Catholic institutions are into livestock production where milk is supplied to various supper markets. Some are able to run big farms and the products help them realise a lot of money for more projects.

USCBC facilitates huge sums of money to conferences like ECM for purchase of land, farming equipment like pumping machines and planting machines and construction.

“If we are to be united as dioceses under ECM, we can do better, not only for the benefit of our church but also for our beloved country,” said Msusa, who is also the Archbishop for Blantyre Archdiocese.

He added: “We have also received donations for a long time and most of the donors are currently phasing out while poverty levels still worsens. It’s time now we ventured into investment.”

Meanwhile, all dioceses and institutions have been challenged to identify their areas of interest and apply for the loans to come up with various agricultural produce for sale.

An entrepreneurship aspect has been incorporated in the initiative to encourage the church in Malawi also to attain economic independence while helping the country achieve food security.

The initiative is also set to train implementers of the project in business administration, accounting and consumer behaviour disciplines so that they become equipped with various skills that are necessary for the success of the initiative.

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