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Private sector shuns food security, nutrition initiative

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A recent review of an African initiative called New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition has shown Malawi private sector’s loss of interest in the endeavour.

The main goal of the initiative is to raise 50 million African people out of poverty through a shared commitment that aims at achieving sustained and inclusive agricultural growth between 2012 and 2022.

Under the initiative, Malawi wants to graduate two million people out of poverty by 2022.

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But the 2017 New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition in Malawi report, which was up for validation in Lilongwe on Friday, has observed a waning response from the major partner, private sector.

The initiative recognises responsible private agriculture investment in food security and nutrition as that which actively promotes and seeks to expand linkages to smallholder farmers.

This, according to the initiative, can be achieved through private sector input and output markets, technology dissemination and sustainable environmental management.

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New Alliance for Food and Nutrition in Malawi Coordinator, Victor Mponda- Banda, has attributed the private sector apathy to misunderstanding of the concept and slow progress in some policy reforms.

“The private sector thought the initiative will be providing loans or grants for their capital and investments. But the initiative is there to encourage partnerships and commitments from both government and the private sector.

“There is also slow progress in the implementation of policy reforms that would encourage the private sector to invest in sustainable agriculture and promote smallholder farmers,” Mponda-Banda said.

He, however, said there was progress in other aspects including the launch of agriculture policy and the enactment of land laws which indicate government’s commitment.

There are up to 15 policy reform commitments that government made when Malawi joined the alliance in 2013.

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