By Madalitso Wills Kateta:
Value addition is the solution to the growth of the country’s agricultural sector, trade and industry minister Mark Katsonga Phiri has said.
Katsonga Phiri was speaking in Lilongwe on Tuesday following discussions he had with a visiting delegation of the African Agriculture Transformation Initiative who are in the country on a familiarization tour on how Malawi can improve agricultural productivity.
Katsonga said the initiatives that the AATI are promoting are speaking to the agricultural transformation agenda that is being promoted by the Tonse administration.
“We have discussed much of the market access to our farm produce, but our discussion focused on value addition so that our produce does not end in a factory but rather on the shelf of a shop,” said Katsonga.
He said for the recent past agricultural activities in the country have been on the downward spiral, but it was the agenda of the Tonse administration to promote agriculture, but this he said could be achieved with private sector involvement.
“Government is only there to provide policy direction, it’s the private sector that can invest in the agriculture sector and as the Tonse administration we are committed to provide a favorable environment for agriculture transformation in the country,” he said.
Safia Boly executive director of the African Agriculture Transformation Initiative said the organization was engaging with various sectors to look at how the organization can establish the Malawi Agriculture Transformation Agency.
She said the organization wanted to understand the perspective of local players on how the agency could be operationalized in the country.
“We have seen a strong commitment from the local players as well as the ministry of trade on the best ways we can transform the country’s agriculture sector,” said Bolly.
Earlier in the day, the AATI relaxation met with the minister of agriculture where they discussed different initiatives on how the country can transform its agriculture sector.
The delegation will as part of its engagement visit different agriculture establishments in the country.
The AATI is financed through a US$2 million grant from IFAD and a US$10 million grant from BMGF with McKinsey & Company providing a substantial in-kind contribution and AGRA providing on-the-ground support.