Farmers Union of Malawi (FUM) has called on government to be serious in implementing agriculture related policies by “moving away from rhetoric to action”.
Speaking at the farmers’ annual congress in Lilongwe on Tuesday, FUM chief executive officer Prince Kapondamgaga said it is only when government creates a conducive environment for agriculture production that the dream of taking agriculture as a business would be achieved.
“We collectively need to make the necessary investments to ensure that these strategies are implemented fast and that they bear fruit. A clear demonstration of our intent should be reflected in our national budget prioritisation,” he said.
Kapondamgaga observed that government is, at the moment, moving away from export bans, especially on non-maize crops and, while in the short-term export bans are intended to benefit infant industries such as poultry, this policy can be counter-productive as it is a disincentive to producers.
In his statement, Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development Allan Chiyembekeza said there are a number of policies which government has put in place while others are still being formulated to help improve the agriculture sector.
“I think the bottom line is enforcement of the policies because we do have a number of policies in place and those that require revising we are reviewing them.
“The agriculture policy is taking shape and, in fact, it is almost ready now and we should be done with it in four months’ time,” he said.
Chiyembekeza said implementation of the NES and signing of the G8 New Alliance demonstrate government’s desire to diversify and promote agricultural structural transformation and strong participation of private sector in the agriculture sector.