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Farmers urge action on agriculture policies

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Farmers Union of Malawi (Fum) has cautioned that the National Agriculture Policy and the National Irrigation Policy which President Peter Mutharika launched in Lilongwe, on Wednesday, will be meaningless if there is laxity on implementation.

The Union says Malawi has had very ambitious policies on different areas of development but implementation has always been a challenge which has rendered the policies practically ineffective.

Fum Chief Executive Officer, Prince Kapondamgaga, said budgeting and other aspects that will be developed next year and in the years to come should be aligned with the two policies so that they are effective.

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“These documents are very comprehensive; they have very brilliant ideas, so we urge government to provide unwavering leadership in terms of making sure our next year plan overall and plans for the rest of the years are directed by these policies,” Kapondamgaga said.

The two policies are expected to guide government’s agriculture and irrigation strategies for the next five years.

“If you have a policy for five years, it is government strategic direction that as a nation this is how we need to move forward in agriculture, in irrigation.

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“We have very good policies and strategies. But we are still stuck; we are still underdeveloped as a country. Studies have shown that there is a mismatch between what is said in the policies and how we do things year by year,” he said.

Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, George Chaponda, said the policies have been developed from wide consultations among different stakeholders in all parts of the country.

He said having the policies developed and launched was one of the biggest assignments which President Peter Mutharika gave him.

“We still have more to do. For instance, we still have the seed policy and the contract policy which we will soon be fulfilling as well. All these lead to inclusiveness and harmonised partnerships in agriculture and irrigation,” Chaponda said.

He added that, among others, the National Irrigation Policy aims at addressing critical issues affecting the irrigation sub-sector including customary land disputes.

Among others, the National Agriculture Policy is expected to guide the country in priority areas including mechanisation of agriculture, food and nutrition security, agricultural risk management and empowerment of youth, women and vulnerable groups.

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