Civil Society Agriculture Network (CisaNet) has asked Treasury to adequately finance the National Agriculture Investment Plan (Naip) to enable the country achieve agriculture commercialisation.
The call follows CisaNet observation that government is not adequately financing the five-year plan to achieve its objectives to transform the agriculture sector to become more productive as part of poverty alleviation and economic growth.
In its recommendation to Treasury, CisaNet national director Pamela Kuwali said government through the Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development, should align the national budget to the Naip.
“Budget allocations must go beyond Farm Input Subsidy Programme [Fisp] and maize procurement to consider all four programmes of the Naip and their 16 Intervention areas to achieve the transformation that National Agriculture Policy envisions.
“The national budget must reflect a prioritisation of resilience financing with special focus on irrigation, extension, access to markets and livestock development,” she said.
Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development spokesperson Davies Sado agreed with CisaNet on the need to adequately finance the Naip .
But he said that will have to be done gradually as resources may not permit.
Said Sado: “We consult widely during budget framework preparation. For instance, the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development gives us their budget based on programmes drawn from medium and long-term plans they wish to implement in a specific financial year.
“We are aware of Naip, which is important as it aims at fulfilling the mandate of the Ministry of Agriculture.”
Farmers Union of Malawi (FUM) chief executive officer Prince Kapondamgaga earlier warned government against letting the plan gather dust but to ensure its implementation for meaningful economic benefits.
The 2018/19 budget analysis paper by the United Nations Development Programme also challenged Treasury to align the agriculture spending to the Naip. The $3.2 billion (about K2.4 trillion) Naip provides a framework to coordinate and prioritise investments by various government agencies, development partners and state actors in the agriculture sector.