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Lazarus Chakwera gives 6 months for mega-farms

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Thomas Munthali

President Lazarus Chakwera has given the Minister of Agriculture and his officials six months to set up a minimum of one mega farm as a fulfilment of one of the Tonse Alliance campaign promises.

Chakwera said Thursday when he presided over the official opening of the 2022 Malawi Agricultural and Productivity Conference (MAPCC) that it is annoying that, after two years in power, there is nothing to show towards the attainment of the highly touted initiative.

Describing the development as a failure, the Malawi leader further said that he has no more patience for failures to materialise some of his aspirations with regard to the country’s development.

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“…this is a failure. I no longer have the patience to abide. For this reason, I am giving the Ministry of Agriculture six months to produce results that the eyes of Malawians can see. We cannot go into 2023 with this business-as-usual approach. Not on my watch,” Chakwera said.

He then said the time for producing results in terms of mega-farms is now which he said is the right step towards enhancing agriculture productivity which would, in turn, boost forex earnings with proper commercialisation strategies.

“What I expect is that my next crop inspection tour will include the inspection of one or more mega farms in the making,” Chakwera said.

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He then challenged Lowe and his team to attend the launch of the Private Sector Labs under the Presidential Delivery Unit next week to listen to those who want to invest in mega-farms in Malawi.

This is the second time Chakwera has given Lowe an ultimatum, the first was in March, when he gave him up to September 2022 to ensure that preparations for the 2022/2023 Affordable Input Program are completed.

Director General of the National Planning Commission Thomas Munthali corroborated Chakwera stating it is high time the country started working on targets and within timeframes.

“We need to have a sense of urgency, if we don’t we may continue wasting time in conferences like this. We need to give each other targets because in that way we will no longer be looking at and doing things as usual. It is also high time we had policies and strategies that mean well for the country,” Munthali said.

On his part, Lowe said his ministry remains committed to providing a conducive environment for all agriculture stakeholders.

The 2022 Malawi Agricultural and Productivity Conference (MAPCC) has been organised by Mwapata Institute which ends today under the theme: Driving agricultural diversification in support of the aspirations of MW2063.

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