As the country has started working on establishment of megafarms as one way of commercialising agriculture and dealing with the persistent hunger, experts have said the farms have the potential to revitalise the agriculture sector.
Experts from the National Planning Commission (NPC), Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs, the United Nations Development Programmes and several other organisations gathered in Lilongwe Tuesday where they explored a number of options to advance the agriculture sector.
Research Manager at NPC, Andrew Jamali, told journalists that the idea of establishing megafarms is an important progress in commercialising agriculture in line with the Malawi 2063’s desire to enhance agriculture productivity and commercialisation, which is the first pillar in the agricultural sector.
He said, for mechanised agriculture to be achieved, both the government and the private sector have to work together, adding that there were many areas that needed to be advanced including diversification, market restructuring and irrigation.
“As you know mechanisation requires a lot of investment and that calls for stakeholders’ involvement and discussions that we are having today to fast-track mechanisation of the agriculture sector.
“As a country, we are looking forward to engaging in efforts that will facilitate financing, getting financial deals that will facilitate procurement of agricultural implements that can facilitate the mechanisation drive that Malawi is undertaking within the agricultural sector,” Jamali said.
Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture responsible for Technical Services, Medrina Mloza Banda said the government was already working on implementing strategies for mechanising and industrialisig agriculture to increase production.
“We have just started the strategies with the National Planning Commission to make sure that the strategies are put in place. That is why you have seen that we have gathered with other stakeholders so that we can come up with concrete strategies to make sure that whatever we have been talking about in the past is put on the ground,” she said.
The establishment of megafarms across the country was one of the Tonse Administration’s key promises during the 2020 presidential elections with a belief that the move would also unlock employment.
Mathews Kasanda is a journalist who holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from University of Malawi (The Polytechnic).
In 2015, Media Institute of Southern Africa awarded him the Best Print Media Education Journalist of the Year accolade.
He joined Times Group Newsroom in September 2019.