AGCOM Programs Coordinator-Nankhumwa

Lilongwe, March 27, 2020:  Three Cooperatives that have qualified for award of Agricultural Commercialisation (AGCOM) matching grant have signed an agreement with Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security.

Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security in collaboration with the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism is implementing a US$95 million AGCOM project with financial loan from the World Bank.

In an interview, Principal Secretary for the Ministry, Gray Nyandule Phiri said it is mandatory that the cooperatives sign the grant agreement.

Among the awardees include Mtendere Tea and Horticulture Cooperative Society Limited from Thyolo, Minyali Cotton Marketing Secondary Cooperative Society Limited from Chikwawa and Cheka Integrated Agriculture-Aquaculture Cooperative Society Limited from Ntchisi.

Mtendere Cooperative has received K48 million, Minyali K80.9 million and Cheka K37.9 million.

“We need to ensure that project are implemented according to agreed project terms and conditions which ultimately aim at helping the cooperatives move from subsistence to commercial farming,” he said.

The project has aside US30 million for the matching grant to be provided to participating Producer Organisations for capital investments with an aim of increasing productivity, quality and sale of agriculture products, improving post-harvest storage and processing capability.

National Coordinator for AGCOM, Teddie Oliver Nakhumwa said the project will meet 70 per-cent of the capital investment, while the producer organization contributes the remaining 30 percent using both in-kind and cash contribution.

“To date, eight Cooperatives have qualified for the award of AGCOM matching grants. Out of these eight, three have already made their 30 per-cent contribution (partially and others in full) as per matching grant requirements,” Nakhumwa said.

The cooperatives will attend an information training session to clarify the grant management and implementation procedures, disbursement and procurement regulations, monitoring and reporting requirements, and contract signing procedures and obligations.

Chairperson for Cheka Integrated Agriculture-Aquaculture Cooperative Society Limited who spoke on behalf of other cooperatives, Jeremiah Banda, said the money received will assist them to build a warehouse and buy a three toner lorry among others.

AGCOM is the Malawi government flagship programme for transforming the agricultural smallholder sub-sector from subsistence to commercial orientation.

The project development objective is to increase commercialization of agricultural value chain products selected under the project.

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