Investment in the agricultural economy, people and trade can break the cycle of poverty and hunger which impedes progress across many southern African markets. In particular, it supports Malawi’s aspirations towards achieving the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals and establishing the country as a centre of regional trade.
The Liwonde Fertiliser Terminal–the region’s largest, most advanced terminal and fertiliser blending plant situated on the Nacala Corridor, will provide a gateway connecting Malawi to the world via an upgraded railway to one of the best natural harbours on the East African coast. Consider its potential for value addition and its role in import substitution by improving access to quality, tailor-made fertiliser products to commercial and smallholder farmers in Malawi and Eastern Zambia, and the potential for increasing exports of minerals and grains.
Beyond the national benefits it promises for the Malawi economy, it also creates new employment and infrastructural capacity at home, as well as skills development and technology transfer. Cost-effective farming inputs mean more disposable income and productivity for farmers, critical for sustainable food security and an exportable surplus.
From an economic perspective, the US$10 million invested in the terminal’s infrastructure demonstrates commitment to supporting government in achieving its goals as expressed in the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy III (2017–2022) to position Malawi as a production and export hub while increasing the country’s taxbase and creating an economic multiplier effect on local industries and service providers.
The accompanying US$2,6 million rail and port investments offer trade benefits supporting Malawi’s foreign revenue generation, access to international markets and a supply chain that is more efficient than the regional road infrastructure.
The dedicated Meridian Farm Services Unit (FSU) demonstrates investment in and commitment to capacity building in the farming community. Providing technical and practical advisory services to both smallholder and commercial farmers ranging from a full soil science service to pioneering the largest soil testing project of its kind for smallholder farmers.
Its network of over 120 FSU extension officers or ‘agronauts’ help farmers make better, data-driven agronomic decisions.
Agriculture is a cornerstone of Malawi’s economy, which according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) “accounts for about a third of GDP and drives livelihoods for two thirds of the population”.
Investment in the agricultural economy by the Malawian private sector, therefore, in projects such as the Liwonde Fertiliser Terminal, have great potential to boost national growth.