Government on Tuesday promised the country’s famers that no one will die of hunger, instead ask farmers to help Capital Hill make most of Malawi’s food secure despite adverse effects of climate change in the country.
Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development George Chaponda was speaking in Lilongwe during the official opening of Farmer’s Union of Malawi 12th Annual Congress.
Despite Malawi having plenty of water, comprising a third of its area that can be used for potential farming, the country is among the worlds’ poorest economies.
The conference was held under the theme ‘Farming for Markets and Development: Partnership for Increased Farmers Productivity, Market Access and Incomes’
“We, as government, expect that this conference will indeed provide solutions and ideas which will benefit this and future generations. There are many countries where they hardly have rains, but through irrigation they produce enough for food and surplus for export”
“Here in Malawi, it is said that about a third of the country is covered with water. This is the reason government introduced the Green Belt Initiative. You will see that after final implementation of the Green Belt, Malawi can survive for a year or two without rains”
He therefore, urged Farmers Union of Malawi and other stakeholders to continue working closely with Ministry of Agriculture to ensure that the reforms indeed respond to the needs of farmers in Malawi.
Chief Executive Officer for Farmers Union of Malawi (FUM) Prince Kapondamgaga, observed that Water and food security are inseparable in as far farming is concerned, saying because without water one cannot talk of food.
According to him water is not only needed for production of food, but also for processing the food hence a need to harvest water during rain seasons for success of farming in Malawi.
Statistics shows that; Malawi is currently estimated to have a population of 14.8 million people and is expected to increase to 19 million people in 2020. This means that land for cultivation will be reduced and this is a challenge for the farmers hence Annual Congress to reflect on performance of the year in terms of Agriculture and FUM.
“We, therefore, need to be thinking ahead to counter such challenges in farming sector” said Kapondamgaga
President of the World Farmers Organization, Dr. Evelyn Nguleka, who is also the President of the Zambian National Farmers Union said the meeting will also increase people’s awareness on the important farming to economy, environment, Agriculture, Health and trade.
“It is through these prestigious gathering that make it possible to move from rhetoric to action. Together, be it from the agriculture sector, water, we must find concrete and effective measures to address the issues food security in Malawi, in a spirit of share responsibility and enhanced cooperation among all stakeholders” she said
One of Malawi’s major concerns remains the immediate and long-term challenges of water scarcity, especially in relations to food security.
This is despite Agriculture accounting for about 30% of Gross Domestic Products, 90% of the export earnings, and employs over 80% of Malawi’s workforce.
A two day conference has attracted over 200 delegates ranging to Economics, Agriculture, Education and few others both local (Farmers from Likoma Island) and international (United Kingdom, South Africa and Zambia).