Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development Allan Chiyembekeza has urged stakeholders in the agricultural sector to adopt and implement new innovations and technologies to satisfy requirements on the market.
Speaking in Blantyre when he presided over the opening of the 12th National Agriculture Fair on Thursday, Chiyembekeza said the fact that Malawi still imports some agricultural commodities means that the sector is not effective.
And for Malawi to achieve the much needed economic growth and development, Chiyembekeza said it needs to transform from a predominantly importing to a predominantly exporting nation.
“For instance, when I visited a stand belonging to Optichem, a company that produces fertilizers, I had time to ask them why we still import fertilizer while we have such a company in place. Only to find out that it cannot produce more to meet the demands.
“That’s why we as government need to work together with the private sector to address such challenges,” said Chiyembekeza.
Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry-MCCCI President, Newton Kambala, said through fairs, players in the agricultural sector have been able to establish new business relationships and strengthen old ones.
“The fairs have allowed interaction between players in the sector and therefore generate an atmosphere for exchange of ideas, technology and experience,” he said.
Denis Kachikho, Sales representative for Monsato Malawi, one of the participating companies said such fairs have enabled the company to reach out to its customers.
“Before the fairs we used to sell 1000 tones of maize seed annually but now we sell 5000 tones. We thank MCCCI and the Ministry for organizing these fairs as they have also helped us improve on quality,” said Kachikho.
Held under the theme, ‘Accelerating Agriculture for Economic Transformation’, the fair aims at promoting commercialization of agriculture and facilitating linkages in the agricultural sector.
The annual event, which will end on Saturday, August 29, has attracted 110 participants. There were only 23 participants when the fair started in 2003.