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Fresh optimism in cotton production

Stakeholders in the cotton industry have expressed optimism that if well implemented, the newly-launched, Malawi Cotton Development Strategy (MCDS) will help farmers reap the most and improve the sector’s input to the economy.

Speaking during launch of the strategy in Lilongwe on Friday, Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, Kondwani Nankhumwa, said the government considered it important to revive cotton production.

“Implementation of this strategy is expected to revitalise the cotton sub-sector and allow it to return to optimal and consistent levels of production that can adequately support upstream value chain activities,” Nankhumwa said.

The strategy will be implemented from 2019/2020 to 2024/2025 growing seasons.

It is premised on the Cotton Act (2013), which established the Cotton Council of Malawi (CCM).

It is also aligned with provisions of the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy.

“It is envisaged that the cotton sub-sector, guided by this strategy, has the potential to significantly contribute to agricultural transformation in Malawi,” Nankhumwa added.

CCM Board Chairperson, Martin Mpata, said the strategy will improve the cotton sub-sector.

“We believe that what has not been planned, assigned, targeted and timed cannot be accomplished. We therefore commend all players who collaborated in the development of this strategy,” Mpata said.

Apart from the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development and CCM, other notable stakeholders in the development of the strategy are the Royal Norwegian Embassy and the African Institute for Corporate Citizenship (AICC).

AICC coordinated development of the strategy.

AICC Chief Executive Officer, Felix Lombe, said the strategy has come at a right time.

“We will look at the targets set and whether individual stakeholders are reaching the targets,” Lombe said.

The strategy has five pillars and these include research and development, capacity building of stakeholder groups and monitoring and evaluation.

During the launch of the strategy, Nankhumwa also launched The Ministry of Agriculture Irrigation and Water Development Strategic Plan, which runs from 2018/2019 to 2022/2023 financial year.

Nankhumwa said the plan provides strategic direction for the Ministry to ensure that all implemented activities are in line with the Ministry’s vision of “creating a nation with sustainable agricultural production and productivity, water and sanitation for all”.

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