BLANTYRE (Maravipost)–Malawi President Peter Mutharika said on Thursday that his government is committed to supporting the country’s agriculture sector to achieve notable economic growth.
Speaking during the official opening of the 11th National Agriculture Fair in commercial capital Blantyre, Mutharika said Malawi being an agro-based economy, requires a vibrant Agriculture sector will enhance more employment in producing and manufacturing companies, increase export base and strengthen linkages to all other players in the sector.
“Agriculture is the mainstay of the Malawi’s economy as it accounts for about 30% of the Gross Domestic Product, 90% of export earnings, and employs about 80% of the total workforce,” said Mutharika.
He therefore stated that agricultural ventures need to be well managed if the livelihoods of the farming community and populace are to be improved.
Mutharika also said government has prioritised agriculture in the country’s development agenda because of the importance and impact the sector has on Malawians.
He then urged all players along the value chain to work together to achieve notable economic growth which would trickle down to most poor Malawians.
He further said in order to realise potential economic development, government will also continue to implement inclusive targeted policies and programs.
One such programme is the Farm Input Subsidy Program which aims at increasing agricultural productivity and improving food security at both household and national levels.
The Programme avails seeds, fertilizers and pesticides to resource poor farmers at a subsidized price. And this year, the programme is targeting 1.5 million resource poor smallholders.
Mutharika also noted that for a long time Malawi has been producing and exporting raw materials with very little focus on value addition.
“Value addition is a major step towards commercialising the Agriculture sector and that is the only way this country can be transformed from an importing and consuming nation to a producing and exporting one as enshrined in the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy II.
“This is possible by including all players in the value chain so that our products can compete on the international markets,” he advised.
Mutharika also encouraged all exhibitors to maximise their presence at this fair through sharing of knowledge and experiences in the various areas they are involved in.
The fair is being held under the theme ‘Agriculture: A Basis for Achieving Inclusive Growth’.
Malawi held its first National Agriculture Fair in 2003 and has been holding these events every year since then.