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FUM demands action on diversification

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Farmers Union of Malawi has expressed concern on government’s failure to demonstrate tangible commitment in restructuring the agricultural economy.

FUM Chief Executive Officer, Prince Kapondamgaga, said the diversification beyond tobacco agenda has largely been rhetoric adding that there has been limited investment in other subsectors such as oil seeds.

Kapondamgaga made the observations during a two day farmer’s policy conference and FUM Annual congress in Lilongwe.

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He said the dismal performance of the tobacco sub-sector this season is clear signal that, as a country there is need to restructure the economy and invest in infrastructure development and policy support for other viable value chains.

“As we will be developing the MDGS III, there must be a clear roadmap on how the government will support the restructuring of the economy. As FUM, we believe we can learn from the past on how government guided by the special crops Act mobilised and invested financial and human resources in the development of key strategic crops such as tobacco, tea, macadamia, cotton, coffee and sugar.

“We also need the government institutions that should champion the selected value chains that can be accountable for the development of other value chains such as the oil seed chain. We need a clear demonstration of our intent reflected through national budget prioritisation.”

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Kapondamgaga further said the government should seriously consider provision of credit guarantee schemes which are insulated from political interferences to address the gap in the medium and long term financing for serious agribusiness investors.

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