The Malawi Investment and Trade Centre (MITC) is engaging various stakeholders in the agriculture sector to review investment guidelines in the sector.
This follows a workshop MITC hosted in Lilongwe earlier this week to examine Responsible Agricultural Investment (RAI) with a focus on screening investment proposals.
MITC Chief Executive Officer, Clement Kumbemba, said that the move will help to close gaps and propose ways of strengthening the process to ensure a more coherent screening process for agriculture investments.
“Agriculture is the mainstay of Malawi’s economy supporting the livelihoods of about 80 percent of the population. Responsible and sustainable investments in agriculture will, therefore, improve the livelihoods of many people and accelerate socio-economic development,” Kumbemba said.
He went on to say that there are projects that have stalled due to misunderstandings between communities and investors on land which could be avoided if the country had sound investment guidelines.
“Quite a number of investment projects have stagnated a bit because we are still trying to reason with the communities so that they can make available the amount of land that those investments are requiring.
“In Salima, we have an investor who is looking for 20,000 hectares of land and this far, we have only managed to negotiate about 5,000 hectares but we are still engaging the communities to allow the investor to commence operations,” Kumbemba said.
Food and Agriculture Organisation Malawi representative, Florence Rolle, said the move is pertinent considering that the Malawi economy is agro-based.
“This is very important because Malawi is having more and more agriculture investment proposals, so they will be properly screened and ensure the nation benefits. It is part of the process and there are many other things that need,” Rolle said.