National Coordinator for the Malawi Agricultural Commercialization Project (AGCOM), Teddie Nankhumwa, has urged young people to participate in commercial agriculture, saying the project is ready to support them.
Speaking at a press briefing on Thursday, Nankhumwa said the organisation has opened a special window for the youth and they are trying to work with youth organizations to encourage the youth.
“AGCOM is about turning small subsistence farming into commercial. So we want to remove the fear that the youth have as regards agriculture. Agriculture can be modern, use of equipment, tractors, this is what we are talking about, we are talking about agriculture fisheries these are the things that we are encouraging the youth to look positively towards agriculture,” said Nankhumwa.
He added that the government is emphasizing on job creation and the project is one avenue that can be utilized.
“When youths form they are employing themselves but also they will be employing other people that will be working for them,” said Nankhumwa.
On the progress of the project, Nankhumwa said they started with setting up the systems and one of the important systems they have in place was the matching grant manual which provides steps to be followed before issuing a grant.
According to Nankhumwa, AGCOM has received support from the World Bank to ensure that this manual is up and running and working.
The other activity the project has done is to set up independent committees including the evaluation committee.
“We are the implementers guided by the Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Trade as Co-Chair, so as a unit we did not want to be involved in selection of proposals, so we set up a committee, an independent committee mainly from public sector and a few people from private sector to be in charge of the selection process and after selection they give us, so all these are functioning and to us that’s good so far,” said Nankhumwa.
He added that there are so far 22 alliances countrywide and they expect the number to grow before the end of this year.
He further said that the project has received 75 concepts that will be turned into proposals and there is a window for more concepts.
“So our target is by December 2020 we should be taking of 100 productive alliances in place and by 2021 according to the project document we are supposed to have 175 productive alliances and the speed we have taken now we think we will surpass that number come June 2021,” said Nankhumwa.
Malawi Agricultural Commercialization Project (AGCOM) is a US$95 million project that started in 2018 and it will run up to 2023 and it is a project worth.