The Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development says it has finalised drafting most of the integral parts of the country’s agricultural policies which should be ready by October end.
The development comes barely two months after the Farmers Union of Malawi (FUM) called for government’s seriousness in implementing agricultural related policies by way of “moving away from rhetoric to action”.
FUM chief executive officer Prince Kapondamgaga observed that government is making some changes in its policies such as moving away from export-bans, especially on non-maize crops. In the short-term, he said, export bans are intended to benefit infant industries such as poultry, a policy which can be counter-productive as it is a disincentive to producers.
Ministry of Agriculture spokesperson Hamilton Chimala told Business News on Thursday that all policies in the agriculture sector under the ministry are being reviewed to create more economic opportunities agriculture.
“Policies in the ministry are being reviewed to suit the changing agriculture landscapes. We are looking at all policies because agriculture, being one of the countries key priority areas, demands that we are up to date and in line with the changing global trends,” he said.
Chimala said that among others, the policies under review include the 1993 National Seed Policy.
“We have also been revising the 1993 National Seed Policy which has since been for public discussion,” he said.
Civil Society Agriculture Network (Cisanet) board chairperson Rex Chapota earlier this year hailed the formulation of a national agricultural policy, saying that “a conducive policy environment with sound implementation strategies is a prerequisite for agriculture development.”
The agriculture sector has several has several sub-sector policies, which include the Food Security Policy of 2006, Agriculture Extension Policy of 2000, Irrigation Policy of 2000, National Food Policy of 2000 and the Livestock Policy of 2006.