Japan pledges to support agriculture
Japanese Ambassador to Malawi Yoichi Oya has reiterated his government’s commitment to ensuring that Malawi meets its livestock and food production goals.
He cited the Market- Oriented Smallholder Horticulture Empowerment and Promotion Project (Ma- Shep) as one of the initiatives designed to give the country an edge in agriculture.
This was a five-year $3 million Japan-funded project that was designed to improve livelihoods of smallholder farmers through self-reliant and demand driven production.
Speaking after making a field visit to Dowa District, Oya said, through the project, his government has achieved its goal of helping Malawi meet agriculture goals.
“I can proudly say that Malawi is one of the successful cases of the Shep approach. Following the confidence and willingness expressed by the Government of Malawi, Malawi will be the first country to implement the Shep project on its own among 60 participating countries,” he said
The envoy added that Japan expects the Government of Malawi and districts to protect and actively implement Ma- Shep to ensure its continued success.
Deputy Director of Agriculture Extension Services in the Ministry of Agriculture Kenneth Chaula said farmer groups that have been established through the project will be a stepping stone in the implementation of the Mega Farms initiative.
“We are going to make sure that the approach is promoted through other programmes. We will promote it through ORT [Other Recurrent Transactions] and use other funded government projects to continue implementing the approach,” he said.
One of the beneficiaries of the project, Konzeni Kwelezan, from Traditional Authority Msakambewa in Dowa, said he has built a house and bought a motorcycle for his family.