Cisanet to host Agriculture Policy Conference tomorrow


Civil Society Agriculture Network (Cisanet) Malawi has organised a one-day Agriculture Policy Conference to be held in Lilongwe where participants will discuss opportunities in agriculture sector especially on trade.

The conference will take place tomorrow and Vice President Saulos Klaus Chilima will be the guest of honor while USAID Mission Director Dr. Caito Lott will be the keynote speaker.

The theme of the conference is Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA): opportunities and challenges for agriculture in Malawi.

Speaking to Malawi24 on Tuesday, Cisanet Malawi National Director Pamela Kuwali said the conference is an opportunity for Malawi’s agriculture sector to look into the challenges the country face when it comes to agricultural trade and how best they can be addressed.

“So there are a number of things that we want to achieve after the conference. We want to link agriculture trade and also we want to raise awareness. We want stakeholders that are supposed to participate in making the agreement or the free trade area work, for Malawi to understand what this is all about. We want to raise awareness, we have done some background work so people must know that we are part of this free trade area and what it entails,” said Kuwali.

She added that the conference will discuss concrete strategies and the actions that Malawi Government, private sector and civil society should do so that farmers and Malawi as a country benefits.


“We want to establish the linkages so we have invited different stakeholders. You know one the challenges why some of the policies have not worked in Malawi is that we miss linkages, collaboration and coordination is very weak. So, we want to make sure that by the end of the conference we have a communique that is outlining the strategies but also facilitating the linkage and coordination aspects that are needed to make this work,” said Kuwali.

In her remarks, Chairperson of Access to Markets at Cisanet and also acting CEO at African Institute of Corporate Citizenship (AICC), Diana Lwanda, said the conference will provide a lot of opportunities for Malawi where among other things Malawi will be among 50 plus countries that will have a free trade agreement.

“The Africa free Continental trade area provides an opportunity where Malawi will be able to trade across the African continent. You are looking at over 1.5 billion people and economies that are about US$2 trillion of GDP. So I think that’s a huge opportunity for Malawi as a country to harness those opportunities where we can be able to trade anywhere else across the continent”, said Lwanda.

During the conference participants such as agriculture experts from Nasfam, AICC, NPC, Ministry of agriculture, Trade and key experts from private sector will make presentation. Participants will also take part in panel discussions and also there is going to be a dialogue about the theme Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

Agricultural marketing systems in Malawi have suffered from several challenges like deficient or missing infrastructure, policy and regulatory incoherence and low private and public investments and these constraints have rendered Malawian agricultural value chains uncompetitive, nationally and regionally. Harnessing the African Continental Free Trade Area is an opportunity for Malawi to get back on track on its policy targets thereby promoting access to profitable markets for farmers.