LILONGWE (MaraviPost) — The newly appointed minister of Agriculture and Irrigation Dr Allan Chiyembekeza says one of his priorities will be to ensure that Malawi regains the food secure status.
The country lost the food secure status few years ago due to a number of factors among which include poor management of the multi -billion kwacha government funded farm input Subsidy program.
The program is marred with corruption and other mal administration issues which has seen unintended citizens grabbing coupons and fertilizer at the expense of initial resource poor intended beneficiaries.
However soon after assuming power President Peter Mutharika announced that his government will do away with coupons in favour of the biometrical distribution system.
Another challenge for the country that is hampering food secure status sustenance has been the impact of climate change that has seen some parts of the country facing persistent draught and floods.
In an interview Chiyembekeza said he intends to work with agriculture stake holders to ensure that food security challenge is addressed and that farmers must be taught to embrace value addition to reap more after selling their produce.
“First and foremost I need to look at what has already been done in the country in as far as agriculture is concerned as well as looking at what is contained in the party manifesto and then see where to start from.
“The first thing is to make sure that the country is self sufficient in as far as food is concerned, because without food there is nothing we can do, so definitely I will look into that as something extremely important to make sure that the country has adequate food.
“But there is also much talk to do with value addition to most of the crops that we produce and thus another area that I will critically look at and see how best we can manage that aspect”said Chiyembekeza.
The agriculture and irrigation minister then assured all players in the agricultural sector of a cordial working relationship to ensure that the country’s development agenda in the agriculture sector is achieved.
“I have the agriculture background, I am one of them, most of the stake holders know me and I will deliver to the best of my ability, my plea is that we should work together for the good of this nation” said Chiyembekeza.