WASHINGTON-(MaraviPost)– In a bid to boost the quality and quantity of various agricultural products for domestic and export markets, the World Bank on Monday, approved US$95 million to Malawi government agriculture commercialization.
Dubbed as Agriculture Commercialization Project (AGCOM), the initiative is expected to support 70,000 farmers and 300 producer organizations.
In a press statement made available to The Maravi Post, the Bank says the project will create a conducive environment for farmers and agro-businesses to operate.
The project will also support last-mile infrastructure, such as feeder roads, electricity, and support to agro-business reforms and strengthening the warehouse receipt system in Malawi.
Beneficiaries of the project are various value chain actors, including producers (farmers and farmer producer organizations), buyers (processors, retailers, exporters, and aggregators), and financial institutions that will be lending to the agribusiness sector in the country.
A major activity of the project will be to help establish productive alliances between producer organizations (POs), other value chain actors and product off-takers.
The capacity of the POs and other value chain actors, will be built through such ways as technical assistance and matching grants to produce the quality and quantity required by the identified off-takers, and strengthen the POs to meet market required standards and norms.
AGCOM will also support the creation of business enabling services by improving access to finance, standards and certification, and trade facilitation.
The project, whose funding is from the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), is expected to close in 2023.
It will be implemented under the joint leadership of the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development and the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism.
Mwumvaneza, World Bank Task Team Leader for AGCOM says initiative will ensure that youth and women are well represented in its interventions, and will have national coverage.
“We expect this project to catalyze and strengthen the role of commercial agriculture, in turning around Malawi’s economic fortunes. The project will help develop Malawi’s productive base of farm and agribusiness products, to foster export competitiveness and economic empowerment,” said Mwumvaneza.
The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, and helps the world’s developing countries, by providing grants and low to zero-interest loans for projects and programs that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people’s lives.
IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 77 least developed countries, 39 of which are in Africa.
Resources from IDA bring positive change to the 1.3 billion people who live in IDA-supported countries.
Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 112 countries. Annual commitments have averaged about $19 billion over the last three years, with about 50 percent going to Africa.