President Peter Mutharika has appreciated the International Fund for Agricultural Development’s (IFAD) efforts in supporting the country’s agriculture sector.
Mutharika made the remarks on Thursday when he met IFAD president Dr Kanayo Nwanze at the Kamuzu palace in the capital city Lilongwe.
At the meeting, Mutharika said he was grateful that Nwanze took time to visit Malawi to hear from him and to appreciate the county’s circumstances.
He added that Nwanze’s support as IFAD president has ensured that poor rural households who are engaged in agriculture, livestock and fish production, are promoted in the increasingly competitive and liberalized economy.
Mutharika said Malawi is enhancing agricultural productivity and improving rural food security through simple, affordable technologies, which help smallholder farmers bridge the gap between actual and possible food-crop yields and added that Malawi is also enhancing the resilience of rural communities to food insecurity and adverse effects of climate.
He then told Nwanze that many Malawians have been affected by hunger this year due to bad weather which has been there in the last two years.
“As you might be aware, Malawi has gone through two consecutive years of bad weather and poor agricultural output. This has caused hunger for our people, and a slowdown in economic growth. An estimated 6.7 million Malawians have been receiving humanitarian food aid since July last year.”
“We are thankful that IFAD is very supportive by coming up with long-term support that will assist in building resilience amongst the rural poor, and making our country food secure in the near future,” said Mutharika.
He continued by saying his government strongly believes that the Programme for Rural Irrigation Development, which Malawi has recently signed with IFAD, will complement other on-going irrigation programmes such as the Shire Valley Transformation Project to address the food insecurity challenge.
He further told the visiting IFAD president that his government has recently launched a National Irrigation Policy and a National Agricultural Policy in pursuit of breaking the cycle to food insecurity and improving productivity. Mutharika said Malawi’s next step is to align agricultural production with marketing and trade policies, in order to promote private sector investments in the agricultural sector.
“We realize that the reform task before us is enormous. In some cases, it requires substantial investments. In other instances, it requires tough decisions. This, however, is a path that my Government has chosen to walk, in the interest of the country. It is my hope that IFAD will partner with us in realising our dream and ambition. ”
“One of the major challenges facing the rural poor is access to finance. I am therefore very pleased to note that IFAD has allocated US$42.3 million to support a project called Financial Advancement for Rural Markets, Smallholders and Enterprises. I wish to assure you that my government will make all efforts to ensure that implementation of this project starts in 2018,” Mutharika said.
The International Fund for Agricultural Development is an institution that plays a critical role in development processes, through various projects and programmes that aim at reducing food insecurity and improving the livelihoods of rural poor people