The National Smallholder Famers Association of Malawi (Nasfam) has urged government to align the National Agricultural Policy (NAP) to the Regional Agricultural Policy (RAP) as a way of domesticating the regional policy.
Nasfam chief executive officer Dyborn Chibonga said this in Lilongwe on Wednesday, during a national awareness and dialogue on Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc) regional and national agricultural policies workshop.
Malawi, being a member of Sadc, is a signatory to RAP, which was adopted in 2014 by Sadc heads of state to promote sustainable and equitable socio-economic growth in the region. On the domestic front, the country adopted the NAP in 2016.
While commending government on adhering to budgetary allocations of above 10 percent to the agriculture sector as endorsed in the Maputo and Malabo declarations, he said fair and equitable allocations within the sector still remain a challenge.
Said Chibonga: “Most of the investments in agriculture go into the Farm Input Subsidy Programme (Fisp). Our research and development is not well developed, extensions and advisory services are not well resourced, rural infrastructure is not well resourced and so access to markets is a challenge even as people are producing well”.
In his remarks, deputy director of planning responsible for policy in the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, Hermes Mauwa, said government will be implementing the regional policy through the national policy to ensure that commitments that the country made at the regional level are made.
“As a member State, we are party to the policy. It is expected that whatever is in the policy should be applied to what is on the ground and that is why we linked NAP to RAP.
Mauwa added that the ministry is currently developing the National Agriculture Investment Plan, which is a successor of the Agriculture Sector Wide Approach (ASwap II).
Figures have shown that there are an estimated 50 million small farmers in sub-Saharan Africa, generating 25 percent of the region’s gross domestic product (GDP) and providing 80 percent of all Africa’s food needs. n