President Arthur Peter Mutharika has asked the private sector in the country to woo more investors in agriculture to recapitalize the industry for the country’s economy to grow.
Mutharika made the remarks on Wednesday during the official opening of the l4th National Agriculture Fair in Blantyre which will run from l6 to l9 August 2017.
“The private sector and civil society organization are doing a lot in growing the agriculture sector through their vast skills, good innovation skills, and modern technologies. These are aspects that play a crucial role in boosting the economy of the country.
“I therefore ask you [private sector] to explore innovative ways of attracting investors including commercial banks to invest in the sector in Malawi. The foreign investors can support us in the value chain to strengthen agri-business [in the country],” said the president.
Agriculture in Malawi is one of the biggest sectors that employ more people but in the past two years it has faced serious challenges ranging from unavailability of viable markets and low prices. Pigeon peas and maize are some of the crops that have been fetching low prices on the markets.
There have been reports circulating that pigeon peas is currently facing unprecedented low prices because India, one of the biggest markets for the commodity, intends to impose import restrictions.
But the Malawi leader assured farmers that his government would take necessary steps to ensure that farmers have opportunity to bargain for better prices for their exported produce for them to benefit from their sweat as well as grow the national economy.
On his part, President of the Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCI), Karl Chokotho thanked the president for gracing the occasion saying the gesture would give farmers and traders impetus to put more efforts in adding value to their commodities.
“As it is now, the trade balance is in favor of India. We therefore do not expect the Indian government to reduce the amount of pulses it imports from us in order to widen the trade deficit further against us,” he said.
During the function, trophies were awarded to Group Village Head Jumbe as the best farmer; Monsanto Malawi emerged as best input supply, Department of Research and Services in the Ministry of Agriculture won the price of being the best service provider while National Smallholder Farmers (NASFARM) was awarded for being the best agri-processor.
This year’s trade fair which has attracted 53 exhibitors is being commemorated under the theme: ‘unleashing full agricultural potential; the role of markets’.