Standard Bank has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with a consortium being led by the Centre for Agricultural Transformation (Cat) aimed at creating an agricultural entrepreneurship ecosystem among the youth.
Participants are required to convert farm wastes into energy for lighting, heating or running farm machinery.
The bank will pump in about K20 million, of which finalists will be supported in fabricating, branding and packaging their prototype.
Cat Executive Director Macleod Nkhoma said the challenge would involve the youth, including those in primary and secondary schools, whose innovations would be recognised if exceptional.
“This year’s challenge is looking at converting farm waste into energy. At the farms, we have waste which is normally just thrown away.
“The idea is to have our students come up with innovative ideas on how that waste can be changed into energy which can be used by our farmers,” he said.
Standard Bank Chief Executive Officer Philip Madinga said the bank is committed to contributing towards growth of the agriculture sector.
“We are a purpose-driven organisation. We see Malawi as our home and we want to be part of driving its growth. We want to support our youth to innovate and come up with ideas that can transform the agriculture sector,” Madinga said.
Agricultural Transformation Institute Country Director Candida Nakhumwa hailed the initiative, rating it as the best way of unearthing hidden innovation.
“This moment is very exciting that we are seeing Standard Bank leading by example. It is a mammoth task, we need all hands on the deck,” Nakhumwa said.
Mathews Kasanda is a journalist who holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from University of Malawi (The Polytechnic).
In 2015, Media Institute of Southern Africa awarded him the Best Print Media Education Journalist of the Year accolade.
He joined Times Group Newsroom in September 2019.