By Taonga Sabola:
The government of India has unveiled plans to establish the India-Africa Institute of Agriculture and Rural Development (IAIARD) in Malawi to enhance capacity in the areas of agro-financing and entrepreneurship development.
The Indian Ministry of External Affairs has, meanwhile, signed an Memorandum of Understanding with the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development Consultancy Service (Nabcons) to set up the institute.
The ministry said in a statement the institute would be the first of its kind developed in an African country by India.
It says the institute will further strengthen the bilateral relations with Malawi and India’s relations with African Union.
“IAIARD will be a pan-African Institute wherein trainees not only from Malawi but also from other African countries, will receive training to develop their human resources and build their capacity.Advertisement
“IAIARD will develop training programmes in the areas of micro-financing and agro-financing, among others,” the statement reads.
Delhi notes that travel, logistics and training course expenses for students from other African countries will be borne by the Government of India for an initial period of three years.
Principal Secretary for Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, Grey Nyandule Phiri, Monday said the initiative was being handled by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Foreign Affairs spokesperson, Rejoice Shumba, was not immediately available for comment.
The institute will come at a time Malawi’s agriculture remains subdued due to, among other things, overreliance on rains coupled with poor development of irrigation infrastructure.
Latest national accounts figures indicate that Malawi continues to rely on agriculture as the mainstay of the economy, contributing about 28 percent to the Gross Domestic Product.