The government has taken a step towards rejuvenating livestock and dairy farming in the country as part of efforts to diversify the agriculture sector.
This follows a series of legumes and livestock business clinics the Ministry of Trade has been conducting with various stakeholders across the country.
During a recent clinic in Blantyre, it transpired that farmers continue to face financial challenges to procure necessary materials for livestock farming.
Deputy Director of Foreign Trade in the Ministry of Trade Mufwa Munthali conceded that there was a challenge and said the government has since partnered with the Agriculture Commercialisation (Agcom) project to provide finance.
“Currently the numbers are not there; it is almost a dead sector but we have to rejuvenate it and we have partnered with Agcom to provide the matching grants so that we start the production and increase the volumes. We will also focus on extension services, quality control; then we have to look for market opportunities domestically and internationally, ” Munthali said.
MITC Director of Planning and Research Felix Kadewele said the sector has huge potential and Malawi should draw lessons from Zimbabwe where the sub-sector is raking in over $50 million a year from the sector.
“We are bringing the off takers and producers together so that they know where to find what but in terms of markets the sector has huge potential both locally and internationally, currently we are not doing quite well in terms of exports so we are sensitising our producers on issues of standards to meet quality demands,” Kadewele said.
Agcom Trade Facilitation Specialist Daniel Chilima said there is progress as nearly 60 percent of partnerships made under the project are in livestock farming.
“The sector has massive potential, you look at the off takers for milk, for instance, they are under-collecting and 90 percent of the milk is coming from the Southern region. It means that if we increase production in the Central and Northern region we might be able to meet the huge demand on the local and international markets,” Chilima said.