The Malawi economy has been in turmoil after suspension of aid by its bilateral partners over governance concerns during the reign of former president the late Bingu wa Mutharika.
Speaking in an interview soon after opening of the Civil Society Agriculture Network (Cisanet) meeting on Wednesday, Baum, who is also head of the European Union delegation to Malawi, said Malawians have not fully exploited the agriculture potential.
â€œThe reality of Malawiâ€™s economic situation today is that agriculture has not played the role it could play. Agriculture has not reached the potential we all know exists. There is too much dependency on tobacco which has made the whole economy vulnerable to external shocks,â€ said Baum.
He added that even though food production is focused on maize, food security at household level remains unsatisfactory.
â€œThe mess in the economy today is to quite some extent attributable to the fact that Malawi imports more than it can afford by means of exports,â€ said Baum.
Cisanet chairperson Edson Musopole said there is need for civic education to change the mindset of Malawians as regards crops such as tobacco and maize.
â€œWe put too much emphasis on tobacco and we could have diversified a long time ago, but because we dilly-dallied, that is why we are in this mess. We need to accept that there are other kinds of food crops apart from maize if we are to move forward as a nation,â€ said Musopole.