The 608 graduating students from Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR) have been urged to become real farmers and bring innovations that would develop the agriculture sector.
On Wednesday, President Peter Mutharika, who is Chancellor for LUANAR made the call when he awarded the students with certificates, diplomas and degrees during the university’s second congregation held in Lilongwe.
Mutharika said being an agro-based economy, Malawi needs people with relevant expertise to be actively involved in farming if the country is to develop.
As such, he urged the new graduates to be directly involved in farming by becoming farmers themselves rather than confining themselves in offices.
“One of the problems we have in this country is that most people think farming is not for educated people, but for those who cannot get jobs in the office. This is a completely wrong mindset.
“Go to America or Australia, you will find educated people with degrees taking agriculture as a profession,” said Mutharika.
He added: “Let us recognize and promote the dignity of farming, let us change our mindset to recognize the prestige of being a farmer and be proud to take up farming as a profession. We do not train farmers to be in the office, but rather we must train farmers to be on the farm,” said Mutharika.
The President also asked the graduates to become innovative by using the knowledge and skills they have acquired and start their own businesses and create jobs for others.
He also urged them to have a purpose in life, saying each generation must discover its own mission and fulfill it.
According to the First Citizen, the mission of his generation was to liberate Malawi from colonial oppression and liberate Malawi from one party rule which was all achieved.
He said the current mission of his generation is to develop the country by transforming Malawi from being a predominantly consuming and importing country into a producing and exporting one.
To achieve this, Mutharika said Malawi has to become a productive, competitive and resilient nation in accordance with the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy III.
“Our first and most urgent priority is to improve our agriculture, water development and climate change management.
“The Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources has a critical role to play in this agenda. This university has always endeavoured to produce relevant graduates with entrepreneurship skills for agricultural growth, food security, wealth creation and sustainable natural resources management,” said Mutharika.
He then assured Malawians of his government’s commitment in promoting education by establishing more public universities and constructing new infrastructure in all public universities.
Speaking earlier, Chairman of LUANAR University council, Professor James Seyani, said five years after the establishment of the university, it has recorded a high number of success stories.
These, he said, include increased number of students being enrolled, increasing infrastructure for the university and increasing the number of campuses, which he attributed to the enabling environment resulting from Mutharikas’ commitment in improving education standards.
Vice Chancellor for LUANAR, Professor George Kanyama Phiri, assured Malawians that the graduating students have been fully equipped with knowledge to fit into any working environment in and out of Malawi.
392 students graduated from Bunda Campus under the faculties of agriculture, development studies, food and human sciences, natural resources and post graduate studies.
216 students graduated with diplomas in agriculture and horticulture under the faculty of
Natural Resources (NRC) from the NRC campus