Agriculture Minister Lobin Lowe has called for more investors in banana farming, saying the country imports about 20,000 tonnes of the fruit.
He made the call on Wednesday in Lilongwe during the official launch of Tissue Culture Laboratory (TCL) under Hortinet Foods Limited.
“What the country needs are more private entities to revive banana farming. The country needs to look beyond growing maize and tobacco,” Lowe said.
Hortinet Board Chairperson Abel Sefasi said TCL was the first privately-owned lab for bananas in the country.
He said they wanted to complement the government’s efforts aimed at creating proper seed systems that would culminate in the production of disease-free or resistant varieties of bananas.
“Within six months, about one million plants will be produced at this laboratory and we are certain that we will help meet banana farmers’ demands,” Sefasi said.
Lilongwe City Centre legislator Alfred Jiya said the launch of the laboratory was a boost to the country’s agriculture sector.
“The country banks much on agriculture for its economic development. As such, having a laboratory that will be producing seeds is a plus for the country,” Jiya said.
Lowe also toured Kumbali’s Nature Gift Farm, which Guy Pickering owns, before the launch.