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Government signs K40 billion agriculture deal

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Minister of finance Goodall Gondwe has expressed displeasure with the tendency by Government Ministries and Departments of returning back resources to donors due to ineligible expenditures.

He spoke during the signing ceremony of the second Agriculture Sector Wide Approach Project – ASWAP SPII worth 55 million US dollars (an equivalent of K40 billion) in Lilongwe on Friday.

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Malawi News understands that government failed to utilise about K147 million in the ASWAp I project that came to an end in June 30, 2016.

“I have noted with a concern that during the ASWAP SP I, government had to return a lot of resources to the World Bank due to ineligible expenditures, this has become a common tendency in many projects. This cannot be condoned at all, as such, I would like to issue a serious warning that government will not tolerate the contravening of Public Finance Management act and appropriate action will be taken,” Gondwe said.

According to the minister, the World Bank will be administering the ASWAp SPII project that is being funded byEuropean Union, IrishAid, Flanders, USAID and Norway through multi- donor Trust Fund (MDTF).

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World Bank Country Manager for Malawi, Greg Toulmin, said The ASWAp SP II will also help small scale farmers improve market access infrastructure, adoption of modern technologies and restoration of soil fertility which are, among other challenges, constraining agricultural development in Malawi.

“ASWAp-SPII will facilitate transition of farming communities from substance production to non- traditional high value agriculture value chain that would ultimately result in wealth creation,” Toulmin said.

The multi-donor funding is aimed at improving productivity and market access of selected commodities for small-holder farmers in selected targeted districts of Malawi.

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