World Bank pumps US$95m to transform Malawi’s agricultural sector

MALAWI – Malawi’sagricultural sector is set to receive US$95 million from the World Bank through a six-year Agricultural Commercialization (AGCOM) Project that seeks to transform the sector into a high productive commercial division.

Malawi News Agency reports that AGCOM National Project Coordinator, Dr. Ted Nankhumwa said the project aims at commercialising the subsistence orientation among small and medium scale farmers.

Nankhumwa added the project has put in place measures ensure increased productivity and promote diversification of strategic crops.

“AGCOM is also likely to create a well cushioned and resilient agriculture sector which has lately proven fragile to the impact of climate change and environmental degradation,” Nankhumwa said.

According to Nankhumwa, the project is expected to achieve the desired transformation through building of productive alliances which will support integration of small-scale farmers and emerging farmers into value addition chains.

“The project also promises matching grants to farmers for increased production, yield, quality and sale of agricultural products, improving post-harvest storage and process capability,” he said.

AGCOM would also provide Partial Credit Guarantee Fund (PCGF) which will act as an incentive to commercial banks to provide competitively priced agriculture financing to small scale farmers who are usually viewed as a risky category.

Director of Agricultural Planning Services in the Ministry of Agriculture, Alex Namaona described AGCOM as responsive to the National Agriculture Policy which is the national road-map to the sector.

Namaona observed that the idea of mobilizing farmers, training and linking them to better markets are aspects bound to promote high diversified and standardized production, a situation which is likely to result in commercialization.

AGCOM runs through to 2023 targeting livestock, aquaculture, and small and medium crop farmers that are in cooperatives to ensure sustained commercialization.

This project is expected to support 70,000 farmers and 300 producer organisations through a joint collaboration between the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development and the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism.

Agriculture is the largest sector in the economy of the country hence remains the best investment that the country has towards achieving food security, poverty eradication and sustainability.

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