These hard, cold facts will astound you: Malawi is UTTERLY failing to meet demand of agricultural commodities worldwide
“Our failure to meet the demanded volumes is mostly because we rely on the hoe and seasonal rainfall,”-Dr Thomas Chataghalala Munthali, Director General of the National Planning Commission (NPC)
Malawi: Dr Thomas Chataghalala Munthali, Director General of the National Planning Commission (NPC), made startling revelations during his keynote speech at the Agriculture Productivity and Commercialization Conference on June 9, 2022, at the BICC in Lilongwe.
According to Dr Munthali, the truth is that Malawi, which is frequently described in the Western media as "one of the poorest, donor-dependent countries," is ironically failing to meet regional and global demand for agricultural commodities.
“Our failure to meet the demanded volumes is mostly because we rely on the hoe and seasonal rainfall,” he said. “This makes a strong case for mechanization, irrigation and intensity in land use.”
The dazzling facts from the Ministry of Trade and the Malawi Investment Trade Centre.
*There is a demand of more than 4million metric tonnes for soy beans but we can only produce around 680,000mt
*There is Sunflower demand of around 70,000mt but can only produce less than 30,000mt
*There is a beans demand of around 140,000mt but local production is only around 60,000mt
*Lately, Government has successfully negotiated a five-year USD295million deal with South Sudan for such commodities like maize flour, rice, beans and groundnuts but the supply is far from meeting the demand.
Dr Munthali said: “The short of it, the demand is out there but we need to get organized into a solid production and aggregator programme to deliver on these volumes. Unless supported into high-value production and intensified land utilization, smallholder farmers who currently use the hoe and re-cycled seeds to supply more than 80 per cent of local food needs and yet produce less than 40 per cent of yield potential while losing 30% to poor post-harvest handling, will not create the massive wealth, jobs and sustainable food security that is envisaged soon.”
"We simply cannot continue to do business as usual and expect different results": Dr Munthali
Dr Munthali then warned that Malawi will remain mired in its current cycle of poverty unless a mindset shift occurs.
He said: “As a people, we have resolved to have an inclusively wealthy and self-reliant industrialized upper-middle-income country by 2063. We have agreed that to achieve this, we will need to focus on three inter-linked pillars of Agricultural Productivity and Commercialization; Industrialization - with mining as an important integral; and Urbanization – that will transform our existing cities into world-class urban centres while creating other secondary cities and tourism hubs recognizing that urban centres are key to economic growth and good quality of life that Malawians aspire for.”
Malawians, according to Dr Munthali, have also realised that achieving the three pillars will necessitate the presence of some key enablers.
He stated that the country has identified seven such enablers, which include mindset shifts at the individual, household, community, and national levels.
“We simply cannot continue to do business as usual and expect different results,” Dr Munathali said.
“Having a Vision is one thing because it is what it is – a Vision. It requires operationalization.”
President Lazarus Chakwera also attended the conference's official opening, where he stated that Malawi lacks the will to implement policies and that the time for lip service is over.
*Download the speech below: