As the agricultural sector, which supports 80 percent of the Malawi population, continues to face challenges, the Ministry of Agriculture has asked for technical support from Food and Agriculture Organisation (Fao) of the United Nations.
Deputy Minister of Agriculture Madalitso Kambauwa Wirima has told Fao that the country has great potential but is failing to exploit it all for various reasons including limited investment, climate change and the Covid pandemic.
The deputy minister mentioned the challenges in Equatorial Guinea during the 32nd Fao Regional Conference for Africa held from April 11 to 14 2022.
Wirima told the conference that Malawi resolved to be guided by a development vision, the Malawi 2063, that prioritises job and wealth creation, digitalisation of agriculture services among other thematic issues.
“As Malawi moves towards its development vision, it faces a number of challenges in the agriculture sector.
“These include small and fragmented agricultural land, limited mechanisation, limited agriculture commercialisation; low agriculture productivity; climate change, environmental degradation and the Covid pandemic,” said Wirima in her speech.
She was quick to mention that the government was using several strategies to overcome the challenges and accelerate achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals but, support was still needed.
Wirima, however, commended Fao for its initiatives such as the technical support in research on the Fall Army Worm, extension and advisory services through Farmer Field Schools, nutrition interventions and climate change mitigation.
The deputy minister also had bilateral talks with Fao Director General Qu Dongyu and used the opportunity to ask for technical expertise in agriculture commercialisation and irrigation so as to advance the country’s agriculture.
In response, Dongyu pledged continued support to Malawi and asked the ministry to send a proposal outlining the needed interventions.
During the conference, the Fao Director General said the Russia-Ukraine war is destabilising Africa’s food security and exposing the vulnerability of Africa’s agrifood systems because of their reliance on imports, and the high prices of agricultural inputs.
“We are also meeting as the severe drought in the Horn of Africa continues to threaten rural families and as many other protracted crises continue to impact food security across Africa.
“As we heard throughout this Regional Conference, the modernisation of agriculture and rural transformation will reduce poverty; develop new decent jobs for the youth; boost access to nutritious and affordable food; help rebalance inequalities, including gender; and build resilient and sustainable livelihoods,” he said.
During the conference, ministers from Africa welcomed the Fao Strategic Framework 2022-23.
Wirima and the Malawi delegation jetted back home on Sunday.
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.