LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)– The Agricultural Transformation Initiative (ATI) team is expected to meet smallholder tobacco farmers and the dairy farmers to discuss how the agriculture sector in Malawi can strengthen alternative value chains and the overall ecosystem while diversifying beyond tobacco.
Prior to the conference scheduled for Bingu International Convention Centre (BICC) in the capital Lilongwe on December 4-5, Derek Yach, Foundation for a Smoke-Free World’s President, Jim Lutzweiler, Agriculture and Livelihoods, Foundation for a Smoke-Free World’s VP, Charles Ndlovu Manager for CREMPA will tour Chiosya Milk Bulking Center at Kamwendo in the boarder district of Mchinji on Monday December 3.
These meetings are in support of the ATI’s mission to prepare for a future of reduced tobacco demand by working with smallholder tobacco farmers to facilitate the development of complementary structured value chains.
In a press statement released on Friday and made available to The Maravi Post, the initiative goal is to make the agriculture sector globally competitive.
“The dairy farmers in Chiosya are organized in a cooperative that is governed by the Central Region Milk Producers Association (CREMPA), which has recently received a grant from ATI.
“The grant of US$50,000 will allow the farmers to increase their herd, purchase churns for preserving and transporting the milk to the bulking station, and purchase improved breeding material to improve herd resilience and productivity,” reads part of the statement.
The statement adds, “The grant will also help farmers establish more reliable and higher income streams from an alternative value chain that also provides nutritional benefits for their families.
“The Agricultural Transformation Initiative (ATI) is a core pillar of the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World, an independent, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization with the purpose of improving global health by ending smoking in this generation.
“Recognizing that the Foundation’s mission entails an accelerated decline in global tobacco demand, the ATI aims to diversify tobacco-dependent economies”.
The ATI’s work has started in Malawi, where tobacco accounts for more than 60% of the country’s total annual earnings and 13% of the economy as measured by the gross domestic product (GDP).