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Study unveils gaps in agri-supply chain

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By Faith Kamtambe:

KUWALI—There are various challenges

A recent study has shown that poor infrastructure and lack of structured markets continue stifling growth of small and medium agri-businesses in the country.

The research, done by the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network, also cites lack of proper sources financing as a major constraint to growth of the business.

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The study, which focused on agriculture marketing policies in Southern Africa, indicates that poor road network in the country affects the agriculture supply chain.

It unveils gaps and inconsistencies of policies aimed at supporting rural markets growth.

Agriculture is the backbone of the Malawi economy but misfortunes have continued to dog the sector.

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Speaking at a meeting aimed at validating the assessment in Lilongwe, Civil Society Agriculture Network (Cisanet) National Director, Pamela Kuwali, said investors are failing to do business in Malawi due to poor infrastructure.

“If you look at the Malawi business environment, there are various challenges affecting agri-businesses growth and investor-confidence including poor infrastructure,” Kuwali said.

The rapid assessment study was done with financial assistance from Oxfam International and was coordinated by Cisanet.

Statistics show that the agricultural sector, which is the backbone of the economy, supports about 85 percent of the population.

Stakeholders recently warned that input of agriculture to the Gross Domestic Product would continue declining if Malawi maintains its over-reliance on tobacco as a major foreign exchange earner.

Already, the sector’s contribution to the economy continues to decline due to natural calamities, lack of stable markets and lack of funding for small-scale farmers, among other challenges.

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