Commercialization and diversification crucial for agricultural transformation

Malawi government has empasised on the need to commercialise and diversify agriculture if agricultural transformation is to be achieved.

Government has empasised on the need to commercialise and diversify agriculture if agricultural transformation is to be achieved.

The Vice President Rt Hon. Saulosi Chilima was speaking on Tuesday in Lilongwe during the opening of the 2021 Malawi Annual Agricultural Policy Conference organized by the Malawi Agriculture Advancement and Transformation Agenda (MWAPATA) and its collaborative partners.

He said the country needs to swiftly move beyond crop enterprises into other non-traditional enterprises, such as, livestock and fisheries saying this  is the only way to achieve the transformation promoted  in both the National Agriculture Policy  and National Agricultural Investment Plan.

“It is also my conviction that as a country we need to take advantage of the opportunities presented by the agricultural sector on our journey to transforming this country. However, I am aware that this will not be possible without us making policy choices or implementing measures that are grounded in concrete empirical research evidence,” said the Vice President.

The Vice President further urged researchers to focus their efforts on providing practical policy insights to inform the implementation of government initiatives which include the recently launched Malawi 2063 and its corresponding First 10-Year Implementation Plan.  

“I hope this forum can also be used as a platform to validate some of those insights. I believe that with this approach, this platform stands to add a lot of value to what government has already started implementing in the sector. Further, I am sure that this approach will also be critical for integrating applied research into government initiatives,” he said.

In her remarks Foundation for a Smoke free World- Agriculture Transformation Initiative Country Director, Candida Nakhumwa emphasised on the need to diversify and transform the agriculture sector saying the country need to draw lessons from the tobacco sector whose success was made.

“This included policies that supported investments in   research, extension, markets, financing and farmer organization among others. What this means is that at that point we had capability to design, strategise and execute. And that is what we need as we seek to identify potential alternatives and transform agriculture,” she said.

Nakhumwa revealed that her organization has made substantial investments aimed at supporting inclusive growth in the agricultural sector.

“This include  establishment of MWAPATA Institute which aims at supporting targeted policy reforms; establishment of the Centre for Agricultural Transformation which is focusing on identification of alternatives to tobacco and investments in science, technology and innovation to enhance productivity and production; as well  as business incubation and commecialisation and finally investments in human capital development through supporting scholars and researchers that will make meaningful contributions towards transformation,” she said.

The conference which aimed at creating a platform for strategic dialogue and evidence-based policy guidance and implementation support for agricultural transformation brought together experts from different sectors to identify successful and scalable innovations that can achieve agricultural transformation, wealth creation and improved livelihoods.

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